Review: Dark Entries has been at the forefront of the coldwave and synth revival that has slowly taken hold over the last decade. Next up they turn their attention to a reissue of an out of print EP from 1988 by Jordi Guber and Krishna Goineau as Velodrome. Villalobos has been known to drop cuts from it, which should give you a good idea of its musical style: freaky 80s electro built on steppy drums, with taut and twanging synths reverberating around the mix, as exemplified by the opener. "Glasfabrik" is a hyper-speed cut with a tongue in cheek vocal, while "Capataz" is the most well-known joint with its acid bass and crashing hits.
Review: By now, we've come accustomed to Dark Entries digging deep to find curious material to reissue. Even so, few would have expected them to turn to the Greek synth-pop/new wave scene for inspiration. Gallop, the sixth album from Greek musician Lena Platonos, originally came out back in 1985. It remains an impressive, if unusual, set, with Platonos variously speaking and singing over backing tracks that veer between spooky, piano-laden oddities, sparse but seductive drum machine grooves and thrillingly spaced-out synth-scapes. Those without a grasp of Greek will no doubt wonder what she's musing on, but in many ways it doesn't matter; aesthetically, Gallop is a thrillingly imaginative and out-there album worthy of further investigation.
Review: A seminal 81/83 record that epitomised so many sounds and melting pots: synth wave, Italo, New Romantic, electro, proto house... The list of worlds this groundbreaking song traversed is remarkable. Here Dark Entries compile the four versions that were cut during its two key release phases on GC Recordings in 1981 and 1983 in all their remastered glory. Smouldering, moody and still relevant to so much going on musically, this is true piece of history.
Review: The Dark Entries label continue their impressive run of form with another killer reissue LP, this time by The Prefects member Joe Crow. Compulsion was Crow's first solo work from the early '80s and has been a digger's favourite for a long time, its itchy drum machine beats and disjointed guitar riffs being utterly singular at the time of the album's initial release. "Compulsion" itself is a mid-tempo beat jam containing Crow's own dreary vocals and beautiful synthesized keys. "Absent Friends" is slower, full of languish and life at the same time, while on the B-side, "Each To His Own" is the winner thanks to its punky aesthetic surrounded by that early 80's electronic oddity. A masterclass piece of music and an essential collector's item.
Review: Zru Vogue is a two man post punk avant-pop group from Palo Alto, California, combining the talents of Andrew Finkle and Rick Cuevas. The band began in 1980 as a four member group: Rick, Andy, Tom Sanders and Nancy Miller. Tom and Nancy left the group shortly after the first single, "Nakweda Dream", was released by independent San Francisco label Adolescent Records in February 1981. Inspired by rave reviews and heavy airplay on alternative radio stations, Andy and Rick went back into the studio, now as a duo, to record some new ZRU tracks. The self-tilted LP was released on the band's Zero Risk Records in 1982. It contains eight compositions blending African tribal and Middle Eastern rhythms, avant-garde rock, minimal electronics, and funk-rock guitars. The duo's sound is inspired by the art and anti-art movements of Dada and Surrealism. All songs have been remastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios. Each copy is housed in a replica of the original jacket, which features artwork by the group members, and includes the original 2-sided lyric sheet.
Review: We love Talking Drums. At the core, they are simply our type of band. An album, a few EPs, and then disappear before the scene kicks off and becomes commercialized. Boxes all well and truly ticked. The early 80s were a period of change what with punk music evolving into post-punk, and while the nu-romantic fashion that came to prominence in the mid 80s was a national movement, it was bands like Talking Drums which initiated it. Thanks to the ever-reliable Dark Entries, we now get to enjoy their best single, Courage, in all its glory - and it sounds like it's been pressed up properly, too! All you need to know at this point, if you haven't come across this already, is that it's one of the best disco-not-disco singles you'll ever cop...and we don't have a favourite tune...they're all equally raw, drum-heavy, house-envisioning, and utterly addictive. Hotly tipped!
Nothing Is True; Everything Is Permitted (instrumental) (4:54)
Breakin' Indistortion (instrumental) (4:16)
A Dirty Song (instrumental) (5:05)
Review: Dark Entries know their stuff when it comes to '80s synth pop reissues, and this latest reissue of Carlos Peron's Dirty Songs single is a sign of just how deep into the crates these guys get. Originally out over thirty years ago, these instrumentals are still total killers and will go down a storm in most DJ sets which venture out of the 4/4 formula. "Nothing Is True; Everything Is Permitted" and "Breakin' Indistortion" are particularly fresh and must have truly cut the edge back then: metallic drum machine beats and sparse melodies ring away into the cavernous ambience created by Peron. Wonderful and highly recommended.
Review: As per usual, those fiendish folks over at Dark Entries have amazed us once again with yet another barrel of 1980s gold from the depths of the underground. This time it's German new wave band Boytronic who see a reissue, and the EP in question is 1988's "Byllyant", which features the magnificent Plus 8 mix - a shot to the head made up of warm bass tones and hard-hitting drum machine patterns - and also the US mix, which literally sounds like it was made yesterday; for being an '80s EP, Boytronic steered well clear of cheesy and to be honest, they give New Order a proper run for their money. The 1984 mix of "Trigger Track" is a wonderful electro stormer, stamping its fast beats over eerie pads and growling basslines. This would be silly not to recommend! For the diggers.
Review: Luis Garban aka Cardopusher's raw, electro-infused take on techno has earned him releases on labels like Boysnoize and Super Rhythm Trax whilst running his successful Classicworks imprint alongside co-founder Nehuen. His Muscle Memory EP for Bay Area retroverts Dark Entries sees him ride on the winning formula of raw and jacking house and techno grooves from yesteryear with a touch of modern flair. It's all aboard the acid express on high octane thrillers like "Regress To Nowhere" or "Into The Motion" which feature the signature glide and resonance of the Roland 303, to EBM-infused electro bangers (title track "Muscle Memory") and the deep down and dirty bump of "Nambu Line Dub".
Review: Lhasa is the brainchild of Alain Raes from Siegen, Germany. As a teenager he was inspired by Tubeway Army's "Are Friends Electric" and Art Of Noise's "Beatbox". In 1985 he began collecting analog equipment (Prophet-5; Oberheim OB-X; Linn LM-1) as digital synthesizers had started to become more popular. In 1986, New Beat was born in Belgium. Dancers tapped into the darker side of synth pop, and DJs would play 45 rpm records at 33 with the pitch control set to +8. Alain was playing in New Wave bands and had started production work and synth programming for other acts.
In 1988 he self-released the debut Lhasa single 'Acetabularia' / 'Acetatechno', with help from Kris Tremmery on vocals and concept. The record combined the icy melodies of Gary Numan and John Foxx with with the mechanical rhythms of Detroit techno and EBM. Thematically, both tracks revolve around the end of life on Earth, and include samples from 'Dr. Strangelove'. For this first time reissue, we've added 4 bonus tracks rescued from a 1990 recording session DAT tape. These demos show further development of the Lhasa sound with updated instruments (Roland D-20, Yamaha TX16W, Korg 707), faster tempos, and menacing proto-rave energy. All songs have been mastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley. Each copy includes an 11x11 poster with photos and liner notes by Alain.
Review: Those in the know regard Space Art as one of French electronic music's most under-appreciated acts. Active between 1978 and '81, Synthesizer obsessive Dominique Perrier and drummer Roger Rizzitelli were famed for releasing killer chunks of "cosmic pop", before performing them live wearing specially made silver space suits. "Nous Savons Tout", which was recorded and released in 1981, remains one of their most potent singles. Creepy, strange, hypnotic and undeniably cosmic, Perrier's trippy synth parts seemingly rise and fall over Rizzitelli's metronomic, proto-techno drums. Flipside "Melodie Moderne" has an altogether different feel, coming on like a pitched-down, cosmic disco take on the artier side of 1970s progressive rock.
Review: Patrick Keel started his career as a drummer with various unsuccessful bands, before buying a synthesizer in 1980 and forming "one-man-band" The Pool. While he released numerous albums and singles over a five-year period, it's 1983 single "Dance It Down" that has stood the test of time. This Dark Entries reissue features the punchy, electro-influenced new-wave original and spacey Dub from the U.S 12", plus the lesser-known European Mix (closer in style to Italo-disco, though actually made by a Belgian). Arguably even better is flipside "Jamaica Running", where glistening melodies cluster themselves around a proto-dancehall rhythm, and its' stoned, pitched-down alternative mix, "Jamaica Resting".
Review: Classic Italo one-hit mystery, Tony More (or Tony Moore as he's often credited) gave the world this lavish futurist Marzio Benelli-written pop odyssey in 1985 before promptly disappearing. With original pressings fetching over L200, Dark Entries have democratised it for all to enjoy. And there's plenty to enjoy... A restrained by hooky riff, sparse but delicate and vulnerable vocals and a chugging synth groove that cuts with a heavy cinematic feel that's succinctly of its time. Complete with an instrumental for full mix creativity.
Review: Aside from the wide spectrum of gorgeous post-punk and italo material that Dark Entries have been reissuing as of late, they've been earning some serious points from our end for their revival of so much material from Australia's Severed Heads. While the band are up there as one of our favorites from the 1980's, Dark Entries have picked exactly the right 12"s to reissue; "Lamborghini" is incredibly contemporary in sound, and it's subtle 4/4 kick allows its mild melodies and odd acoustics to fit above pretty much any house tune today. The same goes for "Petrol", a mild-tempered dance tune with minimal background vocals and a whole load of filter-attack quality. So recommended...
Review: It's been some six years since Caroline "Miss Kittin" Herve and Michel "The Hacker" Amato last delivered fresh material together. While we await further news of their long-mooted comeback, there's this tasty EP of previously unheard archive material to enjoy. Made up of tracks recorded between 1997 and '99 - when their production partnership was in its' infancy - The Lost Tracks Volume 1 contains a number of fuzzy, stylish, floor-friendly bangers, from the S&M-themed madness of opener "Leather Forever" and stripped-back electro gem "Nightlife" (a tribute to Berlin clubs of the period, apparently), to the high-tempo acid-loaded freakishness of "Loving The Alien". Top-notch sleaze.
Review: Ah, a real gem of the NYC No Wave era is the focus of Dark Entries attentions here as the stunning Holland Tunnel Dive by ImpLOG is given a more than timely reissue. For the uninitiated out there, ImpLOG were formed by The Contortions band members Don Christensen and Jody Harris under the name ImpLOG, after the former left the iconic No Wave act in 1979, and released just the two records together. The story goes that Christensen's recorded experiments with found sounds, and an array of instruments such as a Univox drum machine and Casio keyboards impressed Lust/Unlust Records founder Charles Ball sufficiently enough to issue two tracks from the submitted demo tape as the Holland Tunnel Dive 12? in 1980. It's remained a highly prized record ever since and this lovingly recreated edition from Dark Entries is a must!
Review: Honey Soundsystem's Dezier comes correct with this immaculately detailed debut album. From the circuit board presentation to the album narrative itself Parler Music is a lavish affair that stretches the perception of everything we've learnt about him on labels such as Cin Cin, HNYTRX and Public Release. Back again on Dark Entities (where it all began for this alias five years ago) Parler Music is a fluorescent romp through tempos and emotions; the white knuckle synthwave of "Un Subalterne Insubordonne", the iced-out electro of "Teleconference", the sleazy off-beat slinks and triumphant chords of "Entr'acte", the pregnant cosmosis of "Une Salade Oblongue", the list of immersive synthscapes and stories goes on. A genuinely beautiful debut album.
Review: Digging deep into the Chicago Rave vaults to re-issue the debut EP from Billy Nightmare aka "Mystic Bill" Torres. Growing up in Miami, Bill was involved in various parts of the music industry, from working at Flamingo Record Pool, to playing guitar for the band Life In Sodom (80's Synth/Goth band). His interest in both House & Industrial music inspired him to make his move to the Windy City. Bill quickly became involved in the night scene with residencies at clubs like Shelter, Crobar, & Smart Bar. His studio work began with a remix of Kay Ladrae's "Lack Of Love" with Vince Lawrence, followed by a string of releases, including an LP on Trax Records. He has recently relaunched two record labels and several releases and remixes out each year.
'Reality Check' was released in 1996 on Woody McBride's label Sounds. Originally the project was to be titled " Billy's Nightmare", but to avoid being jinxed for life, Torres decided to switch it to Billy Nightmare. He put the Mystic Bill alias aside, got a hair cut, changed his sound and became this new persona. 'Reality Check' consists of 4 tracks, recorded at Mirage Studios in Chicago in 1996. Two tracks on the A-side are dark thumpers and will haunt your head for days. Side B has 2 versions of the same song, lighter and funkier in mood both show the diversity Mystic Bill is capable of producing. All songs have been remastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios. Each EP is housed in a custom designed jacket by Eloise Leigh featuring a 90s photo of Billy Nightmare staring into TV static and includes a postcard with notes.
Review: Dark Entries continues celebrating our 10 year anniversary with 'Preservation Bias', a compilation of lost songs and rarities from Linea Aspera out June 28th. The group formed in London in November 2011 by Ryan Ambridge (Synths/Programming) and Alison Lewis (Vocals/Synths). Within the duo, Alison writes and performs all vocal elements, while Ryan is responsible for producing, recording and mixing the electronics. We released their debut self titled album in June 2012 that was followed by a posthumous vinyl reissue of their tour cassette "II" on Weyrd Son Records in 2013. For all recordings Ryan utilizes an analog synthesizer set up: Roland SH-09, Roland Juno 6, Vermona DRM MKiii, Korg Poly 800 and Analogue Solutions Semblance. Linea Aspera's sound includes clear influences from 1980s electronic body music, synth-pop, industrial and noise. Lyrically the band incorporates the sciences of osteology, neuroscience, and anthropology weaving a new medical language around themes of desire, despair and renewal. Linea Aspera is the muscle attachment on the back of the femur and translates to 'rough line' in Latin. 'Preservation Bias' features all three songs from the limited 'II' tour cassette EP, four songs from the 2012 self-titled limited cassette EP and one song from the Desire Records 2013 compilation 'And You Will Find Them In The Basement'. All songs have been mastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley. Each LP is housed in jacket designed by Niall Greaves and includes a double-sided insert with lyrics.
Review: Chris Garner, Jorg Burckhardt, Matthias Elvers, and Regina Petersen didn't release more than handful of EPs under the Peppermint guise, but what they did put out was as foundational and inspirational as more known electronic bands of the 80s like Liaisons Dangereuses. Dark Entries is responsible for this reissue, of course, a repress of an original going for near 100 bucks on the second-hand market, and this 1983 bomb has that rare characteristic of sounding retro and utterly fresh all at the same time. There's two mixes to the wonderfully wavy "Perfect High", and they both serve their own purpose; the radio edit, as you'd expect, is the one that gets the heads turning, its ominous bass charging menacingly amid the sweeter melodies and classic, new-romantic vocals, while the instrumental makes for the perfect beat companion to any serious cold wave DJ set.
Review: 2017 has been a good year for fans of The Hacker AKA long-serving producer Michel Amato. Having already impressed via rock solid EPs on Stilleben and Bordello a Parigi, Amato delivers his first full-length excursion since 2014. As you'd probably expect, Les Theatre Des Operations tends towards the alien and intergalactic, with Amato serving up a range of tracks rich in bleeping electronic melodies, unfussy drum machine rhythms and angular, TB-303 style basslines. As usual, the eight tracks neatly blur the boundaries between techno and electro - both rhythmically and sonically - while regular collaborator Miss Kittin lends a hand on moody and mind-altering LP highlight "Time X", adding some typically sleazy and stylish spoken word vocals.
Review: The final part of Dark Entries' long-running series of archival Patrick Cowley releases showcases tracks originally recorded for Afternooners, a late '70s gay porn film by director John Coletti. As with previous Cowley releases on Dark Entries, the double album also contains previously unheard material rediscovered from the Fox Studio archives. It's another essential collection of atmospheric synthesizer music in the producer's distinctive style, all told, with tracks ranging from the whistling cheeriness of "Hot Beach" and the sparkling, cowbell-laden throb of "One Hot Afternoon" to the dubbed-out, semi-ambient dreaminess of "Bore & Stroke" and the humid, upbeat "Jungle Orchid".
Review: Amongst minimal wave and alternative synth-pop enthusiasts, short-lived London band Shoc Corridor has an excellent reputation. Although they released a pair of albums and a gaggle of singles in 1983 and '84, it is '82 debut single A Blind Sign that gets collectors drooling. On this Dark Entries reissue, it's easy to see why. Flipside cut "Sargasso Sea", a fantastically spaced-out combination of heavily dub influenced post-punk bass, minimalist drum machine hits and liquid electronics, is particularly special, while "On Reflection" is a fine slab of swooning, near Balearic electronica. The title track, a Gary Numan-esque chunk of mutant synth-pop that bizarrely includes some jangly acoustic guitars amongst the arpeggio bass and twittering synthesizer melodies, is also inspired.
Review: Body Without Organs were a duo from New York City consisting of Richard Behrens (lyrics, vocals, guitar) and Carl Howard (electronics, effects) formed in 1982. The pair brought together skill and ideas from such diverse areas as writing, poetry, ceremonial magic, studio technology, and mass media sounds and images. The name Body Without Organs could mean several things: a body, being an organization, without organs, or hierarchy; a form of anarchy, certainly opposed to the capitalist system, and if not directly opposed, then deeply skeptical of its effects on society. Richard was interested in anthropology and mythology and the Golden Dawn System of Magick as a meditative tool. Sort of aural performance artists doing their performance work who released four cassette albums through Howard's Audiofile Tapes between 1985 and 1987. We are proud to reissue their debut album "Isis and Thoth" from 1985 on vinyl for the first time. The album's title pays homage to Isis: the protectress of the dead whose mournful tears for her husband/brother Osiris [the god of the dead who was murdered by his brother Set] were said to flood thee Nile annually, and unto the ibis or baboon headed Thoth: the heart [intelligence] and tongue [voice] of the sun god Ra. The nine compositions were created as scenes or moods with taped effects, delay pedals and found vocals. The duo employed droning synth syncopated with sparse percussive accents, esoteric vocal chanting, looping delayed beats, dissonant guitar and stuttering bass lines. Richard sadly passed away in 2017 and his widow Anna sent us the entire BwO cassette archive and we discovered a previously unreleased track "Scrap" included here. All songs have been remastered for vinyl by George Horn at Fantasy Studios. Each copy includes an 8.5x11 insert with photos and interview with Richard Behrens. "When you will have made him a body without organs, then you will have delivered him from all his automatic reactions and restored him to his true freedom" - excerpt from the radio play by Antonin Artaud: "To Have Done with the Judgment of God" (1947)
Review: Lena Platonos, born on the island of Crete in Greece, is simply not revered enough these days, often out of the spotlight. However, those who know, know very well what this musician is all about, and of the dynasty she has left to the wider music scene. The 1980s were hers, with more than ten albums having come out in quick succession, before being lost in the depths of the second-hand market; 1986's Lepidoptera, which Dark Entries have reissued wonderfully, is one of her very best works. Irrefutably non-genre and non-wave, this quirky collection of electronic shapes and improvisational ideas hasn't aged a day in 32 years, and there is nothing to suggest that similar sorts of musicians have pushed the boundaries any further. Balanced between exotica and electronica, this is pure Greek music with a twist. Moody, sensual and deeply enriching, this is an album for the ages. Recommended!
The Sunlight Home (Passions Organiques version) (6:08)
Review: Dark Entries are clearly fans of British duo Nagamatzu, with this remastered and reissued edition of their LP, Above This Noise, the third time the San Francisco label has profiled the '80s synth act. Formed of Andrew Lagowski and Stephen Jarvis, Nagamatzu were active for just under a decade in the fertile period of UK music history where synth technology was met with experimental minds. Above This Noise sees Dark Entries hone in on the 5-year period between Nagamatzu's second album, 1986's Sacred Islands Of The Mad, and their third and final effort, 1991's Igniting The Corpse, and features a mix of unreleased material and tracks culled from various tape-only compilations. There is a primal, raw energy running throughout the nine tracks as brutish drum machine hits joust for attention with epic synth lines and the occasional post-apocalyptic lyric. Great stuff!
Review: Lena Platonos is a Greek pianist & composer. Originally recorded in 1984, the Sun Masks LP was Platonos' first record to feature her own lyrics and vocals. All instruments were performed by Lena herself. Argentinian writer Julio Cortazar and the film The Wall by Pink Floyd were said to be the main inspirations, as well as a reversal of thought processes and minimalist aesthetics which led her to experiment on a Yamaha C60 synthesiser, a Roland TR 808 drum machine and a variety of effects which she used on her voice. As label boss Josh Cheon observes, she "narrates each song in deadpan fashion, skillfully reciting her surreal Greek poetry." Lyrically it is said to be an exploration of love, human relationships and the bourgeois lifestyle of the 1980s. Another wonderful and much needed re-issue by Dark Entries.
Review: If you have a serious interest in Italo-disco, you should already be aware of Kirlian Camera. For the uninitiated, Angelo Bergamini's band was founded in 1980, and has been a constant presence on the Italian music scene ever since. "Helden Platz" was originally released in 1987, and is one of the standout moments in their bulging discography. Full of Cold War-era paranoia, the A-side extended version is dark, gothic and stylish, with impassioned female vocals riding body-popping machine drums, moody chords and a mind-altering arpeggio bassline. On the flip you'll find the notably different 7" version, and the gripping dark ambient of "Burial".
Review: Last year, Dark Entries reissued Lena Platonos' 1986 album "Lepidoptera", a beautiful, minimalistic set forged out of picturesque piano motifs and the composer's own surrealist Greek poetry. Now the lauded San Francisco label presents a quartet of new reworks of tracks from that album. There's a more dancefloor-centric feel throughout, with the standout revisions - in our eyes at least - coming from Anatolian Weapons, whose take on "Cyaniris" is a throbbing, dark synth-pop treat, and Pasiphae. Her version of "Araschnia Levana" brilliantly re-casts the track as a heavy, all-action dark electro workout tailor made for dark basements in The Hague.
Review: Roy Garrett born Roy Sambar in Colonia, New Jersey arrived in New York City hungry to explore the sex and porn scenes he'd seen advertised in the Village Voice's classified section. He danced in Times Square theaters The Gaiety, Ramrod, and Big Top before moving into adult film. From 1979 through 1983 Garret starred in ten films, five of them for Joe Gage, including his lead role in 'Heatstroke'. Throughout this period of self-discovery, he wrote the suite of poems that became 'Hot Rod to Hell'. In 1982 he recorded 48 of the poems with haunting, atmospheric score by Man Parrish, who also did several soundtracks for Gage. The project was produced for the stage and for cassette by Manhattan illustrator Robert W. Richards. Richards calls 'Hot Rod', "a searing voyage through the labyrinths of modern male sexuality; it's geography ranging from porn theaters to back room bars to the intimacy of shared beds. Only a man born at exactly the moment in gay history that Garrett was could have lived through and conceived this work." Roy Garrett tells his stories of sex, violence, truth, and illusion, a visceral and personal a record as any of that moment in gay history pre-AIDS. Joe Gage, describes 'Hot Rod' as, "...sweet danger. This is a perceptive look at the underside of love. It is funny, scary, surprisingly moving and best of all, extremely acute in observing the specifics of the human condition." All poems have been carefully remastered for vinyl by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley. The records come housed in a jacket designed by Gwenael Rattke and includes an 44-page full color magazine with all 48 'Hot Rod' poems plus 44 previously unpublished poems from Garrett's archive. All proceeds from 'Hot Rod' will be donated to Housing Works, a New York City based non-profit fighting the twin crises of AIDS and homelessness.
Review: After a fairly overwhelming 2013 of archival releases that was topped off with that excellent Patrick Cowley compilation, Dark Entries seemingly are maintaining that momentum this year with a clutch of new projects. The first is this reissue of the classic Signals From Pier Thirteen EP by Crash Course In Science, which is a name that should be instantly recognisable to fans of minimal wave thanks to "Flying Turns". The track featured on the Minimal Wave Tapes Vol. 1 compilation curated by Peanut Butter Wolf and Veronica Vasicka and has been reworked by Jamal Moss, J Rocc and Ricky Villalobos in recent years. "Flying Turns" of course features on this EP, and this Dark Entries issue is the first time Signals From Pier Thirteen has been reissued on vinyl since the early '80s and is a must for anyone who likes crude electronics and synthesised beats.
Review: Dark Entries is proud to release "Versions Of A Life", a collection of recorded works by London post-punk band Ski Patrol.
Formed in 1979 by singer Ian Lowery and guitarist Nick Clift, the band played moody, epic, angular music. Active until late 1981, Ski Patrol's musical and lyrical output mirrored the dub-reggae influences of their Brixton and Ladbroke Grove home-bases, the civil unrest of post-punk Britain and the freedom to push aside the rock rulebook as had been done by their peers PiL and Gang Of Four. They self-released their first single in early 1980 with the help of Rough Trade and came to the attention of Malicious Damage, a label & management operation, formed to release the early works of Killing Joke. This association produced the band's biggest success, the 1980 indie chart hit "Agent Orange" (featuring Killing Joke's Jaz Coleman on synth).
"Versions Of A Life" collects Ski Patrol's recorded output in one place for the first time. This anthology also shines a light on the darkly comic, paranoid, often elegiac gutter poetry of the late Ian Lowery, who passed away in 2001. Including the band's first two singles, previously unreleased mixes of their third single and three unreleased songs from their last studio session. All songs are remastered for vinyl by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley. The vinyl comes housed in a glossy jacket with an unreleased photo of the band. Each copy includes a reproduction of a promotional poster with lyrics from 1981 designed by Mike Coles, the Malicious Damage house artist responsible for the label's iconic album and single covers.
Review: Cute Heels is the solo project of Victor Lenis, the Brussels based founder of Black Leather Records and a producer who will be familiar to fans of Gooiland Elektro. Spend some time with Spiritual, the debut Cute Heels album and you'll realise Lenis is a perfect fit for San Francisco's relentless Dark Entries label. All eight tracks here were written and recorded throughout the course of 2013 and present Cute Heels as a powerful musical force wedged between EBM and primitive strains of Detroit electro and techno. If you can imagine James Stinson jamming on hardware with Beate Bartel then you're in the right frame of mind to appreciate the nuances of Spiritual. Don't sleep!
Review: Having released over fifty records since their foundation back in 2009, Dark Entries use the widened exposure afforded by that excellent Patrick Cowley compilation released in the last quarter of 2013 as a springboard to launch a new dedicated 12" series. Retaining their archival approach, the first release focuses on the short-lived Italian act Victrola; formed as a four piece combo in Messina, Victrola slimmed down to the synthesizer and guitar-based duo Antonio "Eze" Cuscina and Carlo Smeriglio and moved to the fertile music scene growing in early 80s Florence. In 1983, the pair issued their one record-shaped contribution to the early 80s Italian synth scene in the shape of Maritime Tatami, a two-track 12? issued on the Electric Eye label. Recorded using the Roland TR303 and TR606 at a time when these models had only been made available, so this reissue of Maritime Tatami from Dark Entries offers a chance for people to assess a slice of analogue experimentation at its most nascent.
Review: Stupendously rare Italo gem from the criminally under-prolific Trieste-based Big Ben Tribe, this quirky poplet first came our way in 1984 on Gong. Last spotted changing hands for hundreds on auction sites, Dark Entries have done the disco world a favour and licensed a reissue. Untouched and naked in all its 80s glory, the synth patterns, abstract lyrics and arrangement were way ahead of their time and clearly influenced many electronic pop and Balearic bands who followed. Vocals just a bit too much for you? No worries, just flip for the instrumental. Tarzan loves summer nights, and we love Dark Entries for unearthing this utter classic.
Review: Disco producer, synthesizer pioneer and Hi-NRG originator Patrick Cowley made a lot of highly sexual music. In fact, his muscular synth-disco productions were, for years, the soundtrack of choice in San Francisco's notorious bathhouse scene. It doesn't stop there, though. Unbeknownst to most disco aficionados, Cowley also provided experimental synthesizer tracks to soundtrack gay porn films between 1973 and 1981. Initially released on vinyl last year, School Daze has now been granted a CD edition by Dark Entries and gathers together the best of those productions. Arguably, the material here is amongst his best work. Free of the constraints of the dancefloor, Cowley let himself go, delivering avant garde synthesizer compositions that ranged from spaciously psychedelic ("Out of Body", like some lost Confused House record) and decidedly cosmic (the chugging "Journey Home"), to otherworldly and outlandish ("Zygote"). Recommended.