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: 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: 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: Matt Cheon & Co. unearth yet more rare gems from old school electro fiends Caroline Herve & Michael Amato here, on the second volume of Lost Trax. As story has it, after the French duo met at a rave in their native Grenoble in the early '90s, they made music heavily influenced by 80s synth, post-punk and Italo disco. Bored by the techno scene at the time, they set out out to lighten the serious tone and bring a campy sexiness to the dour musical landscape. From the sexy, four-to-the-floor EBM of "Upstart", the Drexciyan style "Love On" with its aquatic bass assault, or the classic Miss Kittin & The Hacker sound of old on the monochromatic" The Building" featuring the former's trademark deadpan vocal delivery.
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: 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!
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: 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".
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: 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: 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: 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: 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.
Qu'est-Ce Qu'il A (D'Plus Que Moi Ce Negro La?) (4:30)
Hot Voodoo Dub (7:45)
Review: Legendary musician, DJ and broadcaster Philippe Krootchey was a hugely influential creative whirlwind throughout the 70s and 80s in France. Founder of Love International, frequent Casablanca collaborator with the likes of Lizzy Mercier Descloux and Mathematiques Modernes and an active member of France's foremost gay rights groups, his political and creative messages were clear in every action he made. Originally released in 1984, "Qu'est Ce Qu'il" carries a strong anti-racial message with humour that worked so well he re-sang it English and it eventually became "Whatazzy". Flip for "Hot Voodoo Dub" to find his creative messages as a studiosmith were also very clear.
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: 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: 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: 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: 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!
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: 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: 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: 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: 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.
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: Josh Cheon's retrovert powerhouse Dark Entries reissues Lunapark's 1982 debut album Gefangene Vogel ('Prisoner Birds') originally on Stuttgart imprint Intakt Records. Lunapark were German trio of Burkhard Ballein, Klaus "Schlips" Gebauer and Reinhard "Zoppen" Benisch. Underrated heroes of the Neue Deutsche Welle scene, they allegedly recorded the tracks "using a simple set up of guitar, bass, drums, drum-computer, and Korg MS-10 & MS-20 synthesizers". The monotone German vocals epitomize the Zeitgeist of the Cold War. We particularly enjoyed the cosmic punk funk on the title track, the ode to popular Bayern menswear "Lederhosen" (featuring vocals that sound like Nena and some Giorgio Moroder style arpeggios) and any track dedicated to a legend such as "John Lennon" can't all be bad even in its stylish deadpan delivery.
Lettre A Monsieur Le Legislateur (De La Loi Sur Les Stupefiants) (5:56)
Review: 1983's Rive Gauche by Philippe Chany has been lost in the depths of time and, until now, many greedy second-hand sharks have been keeping its price way up high. This little synth-pop marvel is a sampler's dream, containing beautiful riffs here and there, and what is most alluring about it is its total detachment from any one genre. In fact, there are noticeable touches of all things Balearic in here, and many of its tunes could the perfect accompaniment to disco, boogie or even expansive DJ sets. With a little subtle nod to funk, Chany's album is one of those veritable one-offs, the sort of albums that are in a category of their own. A stunning reissue, once again, by Dark Entries.
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: There are plenty out there - the team behind Dark Entries Records included - who will happily tell you that that Time Actor is one of the finest and most overlooked albums of the 1970s. It was the debut full-length of Richard Wahnfried, an alter ego of pioneering German ambient don and electronic experimentalist Klaus Schulze preserved for collaborative projects. In the case of Time Actor, that collaborator was Arthur Brown (he of "The Crazy World Of..." fame), whose half spoken, half-sung vocals provide a focal point throughout. Musically, the album is deliciously trippy and other-worldly, with Schulze delivering a swathe of fine electronic grooves and bubbly Berlin School soundscapes. This edition also boasts a brilliant bonus track: a 12-minute, 1983 "Afro-cosmic" revision of the title track by Italian Maurizio Delvecchio.
Review: It has now become the custom to receive a mouth-watering reissue from Dark Entries on a weekly basis. These guys have become the certified masters when it comes to resurfacing rare and experimental music form the '80s, and their latest treasure comes from West London's Shoc Corridor, a band who specialized in synth-pop and coldwave. Experiments In Incest was their debut LP, originally out on indie label Shout, and while the release covered that era's typical influences, Shoc Corridor went that little bit further into the realms of Kraftwerk-like electronics and synth manipulation. "Khartoum" has to be the masterpiece on here, a gorgeous drum-machine journey accompanied by subtle Arabic voices, warm bass, and a seductive swarm of synth flutes. "In An Empty Room" is the other stunner on here, and its glitchy 606 beats and ominous sonics would fit right at home on pretty much any Editions Mego release nowadays. This is special, don't miss it.
Review: There was a little of Talking Heads about 3 Teens Kill 4, an arty, post-punk combo whose 1983 album No Motive has long been a favourite with dusty-fingered crate diggers. As this Dark Entries reissue proves, the band's vocal style, musical arrangements and love of madcap stylistic fusions drew heavily of David Byrne and company's open-minded and singular approach. This is perhaps most evident on the low-slung dub disco outing "5/4", stripped-back bass-and-drum machine jam "Hut/Bean Song" (whose odd lyrics discuss shaking cans of baked beans) and sample-heavy fuzziness of "Tell Me Something Good". Brilliantly, this edition also features two previously unreleased tracks that were left off the original album.
Review: We are proud to present two new EPs from De Bons en Pierre, the duo of Beau Wanzer & Maoupa Mazzocchetti. Beau Wanzer spends the majority of his days sifting through paraffin embedded animal tissues and reading old issues of Fangoria, occasionally breaking his monotonous routine to record in various fits and bursts. As well as solo material, he is also in numerous projects including Streetwalker, Mutant Beat Dance, Civil Duty, and Corporate Park. Maoupa Mazzocchetti is the pseudonym of Florent Mazzocchetti, a French producer based in Brussels. His sonic vision is one which constantly straddles the line between wild experimentation and rhythmic compatibility, drawing influence from early concrete, 80's tape scene and Birmingham school techno. After working together on the 'Crepes' EP that we released in 2017, De Bons en Pierre reunited for a two day recording session in Brussels. The duo recorded 13 tracks that we've split across 2 EPs with 6 tracks on 'EP No. 1' and 7 tracks on 'EP No. 2'. Beau says, "We hooked everything up and just pushed play. We didn't really discuss much about the process....it was very 'spur of the moment'." The equipment set up included a Roland TR-808, TR-606, SH-101, CR-78, CR-8000, two Syncussions and effects. Each EP contains 25 minutes of dance floor perversions that tackle an array of rhythmic forms. Sludgy synths, serrated percussion and viscous distortion goops over leviathan rhythms. All songs are mastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley. 'EP No. 1' is housed in a sewage green jacket featuring a monster mask duo and spiky motifs designed by Florent Mazzocchetti, and 'EP No. 2' is radioactive orange with a different pair of monster masks.
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.
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: San Francisco's Dark Entries label does a good line in reissuing obscure, long forgotten, left-of-centre gems (their excellent collection of Patrick Cowley's little known soundtrack work for gay porn films, School Daze, was arguably one of the compilations of 2013). Here, they've unearthed another overlooked gem - Art Fine's previously rare-as-hen's-teeth dark Italo-disco gem "Dark Silence" (L200-plus for an original 1985 copy, should you be feeling flush). It's pretty much a straight copy of the New Wave-inclined original, with the sparser, looser "Long Version" (in which producer Fabrice Belli gives the synth melodies a little more room to express themselves) joining the dense "Art Fine Version".
Review: The third and final archival release issued to celebrate Dark Entries reaching the 5 year anniversary mark finds the San Francisco-based label focus on the superbly named Executive Slacks. Spawned in early '80s Philadelphia, Executive Slacks were made up of Matt Marello, John Young and Albert Ganss, a trio of art students inspired to commit their angst ridden electronics to tape after infiltrating the local scene's circuit of clubs and galleries. In 1983 a self-titled EP was issued by local independent Red Records featuring four tracks of jagged body music that took inspiration from the Cabs and Tuxedo Moon as well as Dadaism and Disco. Fully remastered and presented in original artwork, this new Dark Entries issue is a superb introduction to a band whose music is a clear influence on the likes of Front 242 and Ministry.
Review: The original pressing of Subsequent Pleasures, the self-financed and ludicrously limited debut EP from Dutch darkwave pioneers Xymox (later to rename themselves Clan of Xymox), is notoriously hard to get hold of. Props, then, to reissue specialists Dark Entries for making it available again on vinyl for the first time since 1983. While this version doesn't include all of the tracks featured on the original, it does contain all the killers, including the electro-goth wooziness of "Going Around", the Joy Division-ish "Strange 9 To 9" and the superb synth workout "Call It Weird". It's one of those releases that should be an essential purchase for anyone with even the remotest interest in darkwave.
Review: We are pleased to present a 4-track EP from Austin, Texas analogue hardware enthusiast Bill Converse. Immersed in the early days of the 90s midwest rave scene, Bill began DJing at a young age in Lansing, Michigan. Luminaries such as Claude Young, Traxx, and Derrick May were key early influences. Techno, noise, ambient and tape processing are all part of his uncanny sound palette. His debut album 'Meditations/Industry' was released on cassette in 2013 and edited for a vinyl release on Dark Entries in 2016 followed by two 12" singles 'Warehouse Invocation' and '7 of 9' the same year. In 2017 Converse released his second album 'The Shape Of Things To Come' followed by the double EP 'Salt Of Mars'.
'Hulled' is a 25 minute journey spread across 4 tracks of glacial abandon. All tracks were recorded directly to tape with no overdubs, made at Converse's home studio. Bill says these tracks represent "ocean waves in stormy conditions, dark grey blue water, or more generally speaking something ominous and beautiful." The songs on this album reveal a sublime influence from Detroit techno, IDM, and Acid. Built around vintage synthesizer lines and gritty drum machine percussion, the tracks ebb and flow like the effect of sun shimmering on water, woozy, gauzy and ephemeral. All songs were mastered for vinyl by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley. Each EP is housed in a die-cute jacket designed by Eloise Leigh with peachy pink patterns landing on an alien water planet and seeing mysterious playing forms under the turquoise water. and the. Each copy includes a postcard featuring photo of Bill with notes.
Review: Umo Vogue formed in Bristol by Stig Manley, Russ Crook and Neil Deamer who were in Bath based ska rock outfit 'The AT's', along with Bristol based singer Debbie Marlow. Neil's Brother Clive joined the band bringing a fantastic new dynamic to the band on drums, percussion and heavy artillery. The band name is a deliberate misspelling of the ultra-chic Italian fashion magazine 'L'Uomo Vogue'. After winning the Bristol 'Battle of the Bands' in 1982 they were signed to Phonogram and dropped a few months later. They then signed to EMI in '83 and released their first single 'Just My Love' released in early 1984. The second single was 'Make It Real' and was never released as the band were culled from the EMI roster in late '84. For this reissue of their debut single we've added 3 bonus tracks, a demo of "Just My Love", the unreleased follow single "Make It Real" and a bedroom demo "Erotica." Each song displays ridiculously catchy melodies and innovative electronic rhythms. The drum tracks, a combination of rhythm machines and hand percussion, were mixed down from the 4-track tape used as backing on stage, with the rich slap bass and Roland SH09 synths weaves fluid lead lines in between the harmony vocals. All songs have been remastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios. The record is housed in an exact replica of the original jacket and includes an 8-page booklet with photos, notes and press clippings from the band's archive. "We're synthetic but not antiseptic. We are interested in the naivety and spontaneity of music." - Umo Vogue
Review: Amongst those that keep track of these things, German trio Hyonobeat are considered proto-techno pioneers. While it's not known whether Detroit's Belleville Three were fans, you could argue that Hynobeat's rhythm-focused approach pre-dated both techno and Chicago house. Thanks to this fine retrospective from Dark Entries, you can judge for yourself. The material included was all recorded between 1983 and 1986, with the wild, off-kilter polyrhythms and ragged TB-303 lines of "The Arumbeya Fetish", mutant electro of "Kilian" and high-octane thrust of the decidedly out-there "Mission in Congo" standing out. Remarkably, Hypnobeat would chain together drum machines and bass synthesizers to create their tracks - a practice that would later become common during the acid house era.
Review: Boris Blank and Carlos Peron launch their Tranceonic moniker, and it comes through on the effortlessly cool Dark Entries stable, home to what we would say are the best electronic releases of the last five years. No pressure, then. New Crime is a difficult LP to pin down, or to even begin categorizing under one banner, with each track offering a different and equally delightful strain of electronic psychedelia. To give you a taste, the duo craft their own take on Yello's infamous "Bostisch" killer, which quickly dissipates into the more sparse, imperceptible drum and synth cocktails of tunes like "Police Action In Zurich" or "America Is Happy". Don't worry, though, there's plenty of dance grooves for you to get stuck into, such as the deep ad wonderful "Butterfly". It's a keeper.
Review: Smersh was the New Jersey duo Mike Mangino and Chris Shepard, who started out in the late 1970s. By 1981, their improvised live jams had already produced countless recordings and the duo began releasing cassettes via their own Atlas King label. Smersh developed a devoted following in places far beyond their native Piscataway, N.J. as their tapes made their way across the world and led to releases on dozens of other labels internationally. Josh Cheon & Co. describe the pair's sound as 'a lush hybrid of techno, industrial, dance, and experimental' although "Sideways" is an 18 minute long epic that dwells on the border between acid techno and breakneck electro in our opinion. There's a couple of modern reshapes too that are worth mentioning: James T Cotton's rave rendition injects some Amen breakbeats into it and comes off sounding like early U.R. circa '92. After all, he is from Detroit himself and would have lived through the period. He then dons the Charles Manier alias once again for an early EBM styled remix which was the winner for us.
Review: San Francisco trio INHALT burst onto the scene back at the turn of the decade, going on to release a trio of well-regarded EPs on [Emotional] Especial and Dark Entries. Here they return to the latter label with their first 12" for almost four years. As usual, their music is stylish, dark and clandestine, with wild-eyed German vocals riding brooding, John Carpenter-influenced arpeggio lines, creepy chords and bustling drum machine grooves. Our pick of the bunch is probably the up-tempo, triple time hustle of "Commerce", though the more polished and atmospheric opener "Alles" and EBM-minded bubbler "Schwarz" are also mighty fine.
Review: While Dark Entries specializes in hard-nut cold-wave reissues from the 80s and 90s, they are also pretty damn sharp at releasing new music from around the wider 'ambient' zones. This new collaboration from Aria Rostami and Daniel Blomquist sees the two poducers team up once again, and rolling through the speakers with the boisterous winds of "Polaris AA" and "Polaris AB", both of them drone leviathans with a kinetic flow that renders the playable just about anywhere. On the flip, "Polaris B" offers a punch of powerful technoid sounds, while "Distant Companion" chills the airwaves with magnetic, aqueous synths. TOP.
Review: Polaroid were an Italian post-punk/new wave band, formed in Turin in 1981. The original lineup of the band consisted of Marcello Zavatto (voice, guitar), Massimo Vagnarelli (bass, drum-machine), Evandro Fornasier (guitar), Claudio Vagnarelli (synthersizer) and Marco Farano (Drums). Polaroid made their debut with the cassette 6-track EP 'Senza Respiro', self-released in 1984. Influenced by Bauhaus, Joy Division, The Cure, Pere Ubu as well as Chic and Talking Heads. The music was dark and cold, but also melodic especially with regards to guitars and voices. At the end of 1984 the band added vocalist Michele Cantoblundo while drummer Marco left and was replaced by a Roland TR-909. With Michele began a period of very dark and poetic music, influenced also by bands like Red Lorry Yellow Lorry and The Sisters of Mercy. The band peacefully broke-up in 1987. This vinyl re-issue of 'Senza Respiro' contains all 6 original songs with 4 bonus tracks from the band's later period. All songs have been remastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios. The record is housed in custom jacket designed by Eloise Leigh and includes 4 polaroid sized postcards with photos notes and lyrics.
Review: Bay Area retroverts Dark Entries have presented a few contemporary acts among all their eagerly awaited reissues. Solitary Dancer, Sumerian Fleet, Frank and Helena Hauff being just some. They now present Group Rhoda; the solo electronic music project of Mara Barenbaum. The Oakland based artist has appeared previously on fellow Californian imprints Night School Records and Not Not Fun. She is also one half of Max and Mara. 'Wilderless' is described by Josh Cheon and Co. quite eloquently as featuring 'tones of tropical darkwave and soft industrial, while negating the sound of conformity and control.' Maybe we aren't as deep into the scene to know what that is, but we can certainly vouch that it is modern coldwave and minimal synth that proudly wears the influences of antecedents such as Jeff & Jane Hudson or Deux on its sleeve.