Review: For Missing Tapes, Minimal Wave has managed to unearth a wealth of previously unheard gems from Dutch electro trailblazer Danny Bosten. Dark electro diggers may be aware of Bosten's early 1980s work, which was initially self-released on cassette, but has also been re-issued since by Minimal Wave and others. The material here was recorded in the same period and rediscovered some years back by the producer. It's similar in style, as you'd expect, with Bosten variously exploring otherworldly electro, sci-fi leaning Italo-disco, stylish, new wave synth workouts, and throbbing proto-techno. What impresses most, though, is the seeming freshness of the material; it might be 35 years old, but it still sounds formidably futuristic.
Review: "Game & Performance" from Deux remains one of our favourite transmissions in the ever blossoming discography of Minimal Wave, and the duo of Gerard Pelletier and Cati Tete are clearly second only to fellow Lyon act In Aeternam Vale in Veronica Vasicka's affections when it comes to her personal favourite French exponents of 80s minimal synth. Having already released a Deux retrospective in 2010 entitled Decadence, the Brooklyn label now presents Golden Dreams, a four track EP of studio and demo tracks that Pelletier and Tete recorded from 1985 onwards. Typically all four tracks are previously unreleased and have been newly remastered for this release. Final track "Fam Fam" perhaps comes closest to recapturing the magic of "Game & Performances" stripped down minimal synth compositions and hushed vocal duets, but all four tracks will prove temptation personified to Minimal Wave regulars.
Review: Originally released back in the early '80s, Veronica Vasicka's label has done its audience a fine service by re-releasing Portrait by Swiss duo Guyers Connection. Full of self-conscious vocals and in places decidedly lo-fi synth lines, it's surprising and disappointing that this collection wasn't a big hit first time round. After all, both "Pogo of Techno" and "Keep the City Clean" are as catchy as an oddball Yazoo, "Die Grille" is a jaw-dropping, windswept synth composition and "National Und Stander" sees the duo fuse ponderous piano lines with pulsing, rippling basslines. Best of all though is "Ein Glas Voll Gurken" a breathy synth-pop song that could have conquered charts had it been sung in English.
Review: The unwritten rule with any release from the Minimal Wave camp is that the illuminating nature of the music and the delightful way it's presented will almost always be matched by the story behind it - something that is undeniably true of their latest release, a collection of tracks from mid 80s UK synth act Hard Corps. Fronted by towering vocalist Regine Fetet, the band surfaced in 1984 with the two track single Dirty (the title track is included here) gained the studious attentions of John Peel (RIP) before signing with a major label and granted the chance to work with two 80s production titans in Martin Rushent and Daniel Miller. Hard Corps disbanded in 1989, having only released the one single Je Suis Passee amidst malcontent at their lack of support from Polydor. Clean Tables Have To Be Burnt collates six tracks from the Hard Corps canon, with the aforementioned "hits" accompanied by unheard archival material that will pique the fancy of any self regarding Minimal Wave fan.
Review: The Minimal Wave label present this two track accompaniment to Dub Under Brightness, the soon to be digitally released trawl through the cassette-only archives of their favourite French act of the 1980s, In Aeternam Vale. The full unedited 12-minute version of the title track is presented here and is complemented by "Highway Dark Veins", a brilliant example of proto industrial techno. If you are not familiar with the A Side, it presents the Lyon group led by Laurent Prot at their lolloping finest, a hypnotic sideways Minimal Wave throbber replete with cavernous and near indecipherable vocals and industrially charged synth waves. It's the second track that makes this release all the more special, sounding every bit like the paranoid Martian techno opus that inspired the Mills series Something In The Sky and was a definite highlight of Ron Morelli's descent into Industrial Nihilism on a recent Beats In Space show.
Review: Minimal Wave return to their self-professed "First French love" In Aeternam Vale with a second LP-shaped trawl through the bands sizeable archive of cassette only releases. The Brooklyn imprint first introduced us to the work of the hugely prolific Lyon band with an eponymous LP of remastered material in 2009, and Dub Under Brightness proves to be just as important a release. The label points to an article on the band originally published by the Douche Froide magazine in 2002, where the journalist nails their appeal in the opening gambit - "There are bands that have been acting ruthlessly in the shadow for years, in a completely confidential manner, then one day chance (but does chance exist?) makes you find one of their recordings, listen to it, and at that moment you could kick yourself for not having discovered these soundscapes earlier and you try to find all of them". If you haven't indulged in the sounds of In Aeternam Vale yet, this eight track selection makes for a perfect introductory primer.
Review: One of the highlights of Minimal Wave's 2011 release schedule was undoubtedly Cities of Steel and Neon, a compilation of minimal synth tracks from Greek synth outfit In Trance 95, formed in 1988 by Alex Machairas and Nik Vellotis when they were 18 years old. Shapes Of A New Geometry on the other hand is something much more special; an album of entirely new material from the duo originally released on limited cassette. Moving from the gloomy Bowie-esque pop of "Post" through the wall of sound that is "Triangular Square" and the proto-industrial techno of "Continuum", this album is essential listening for fans of classic synth music.
Review: The combination of Richard H. Kirk and Minimal Wave was never going to disappoint, but the four tracks on this Never Lose Your Shadow 12" are still very special! Digging deep through the archives of the Cabaret Voltaire frontman, Veronica Vasicka presents a quartet of solo recordings that have never been committed to wax before. The highlight is undoubtedly the title track, a lolloping 10-minute track of hypnotic industrial action made all the more memorable by Kirk's acerbic intonations about "the blind leading the blind". If you've caught a Vasicka DJ set recently you will have probably lost yourself to these ten minutes. Complementing this are three tracks recorded in the same late '70s period which are distinctly more experimental in tone and just as vital.
Review: On the basis of this Minimal Wave release, the hugely prolific output of German artist Felix Kubin and his undoubted eccentric nature is swamped by his musical precocity. Teenage Tapes collates some twelve tracks Kubin recorded in his adolescent years after acquiring a Korg MS-20 synthesizer as an 11 year old, with six of them exclusive to this release. Regular collectors of Minimal Wave output will recognise Kubin - a self styled messenger of exploding lungs who rules the "syndicate of counter-noise" - from "Japan, Japan" his contribution to the Minimal Wave Tapes Vol 2 compilation released earlier this year, and that short burst of furiously uptempo, whacked out electro punk opens this compilation, setting the tone for what to expect. As with most Minimal Wave releases, the way Kubin's nascent musical ideas are indelibly tied to the musical motifs of contemporary electronic sounds proves to be enduringly fascinating, more so given how young he was when these recordings were made!
Review: Minimal Wave is one of the most inspired reissue labels, thanks to owner Veronicka Vasicka's ability to source and curate truly obscure but beautiful electronic music. Accident Of Stars is no exception. Originally part of a five-set vinyl box set reissue of the work of 80s French cold wave band Martin DuPont, release at the end of 2018, the album moves from Joy Division-style dirges like "22 Pounds" into dirge workouts like "No Crying" and bizarre experiments like the psycho-acoustic "He Calls The Sky Hector". It's a weird and wonderful journey, one that would not have been possible to experience without Minimal Wave.
Review: "Hello. My name is Ohama, and I live on a potato farm in Western Canada" went the memorably deadpan opening to "The Drum", Ohama's contribution to Minimal Wave Tapes Vol 2, and it's also the opening track on this full length exploration of the Canadian producer's work from Minimal Wave. What's most striking about The Potato Farm Tapes however is the sense of paranoia and detachment that Ohama clearly felt recording these tracks from his studio basement beneath his parents' potato farm in Rainier, Alberta, during the latter stages of The Cold War. Intriguingly, Ohama's lyrics are heavily focused on technophobia and the subversive power of television and mass media which stands in stark contrast to the techno centric nature - with keyboards, drum machines, vocoders and analogue reel tape all utilised to create complex productions that blended found sounds with audio lifted from TV. Some of Ohama's earliest recordings from his first cassette only release Midnite News form the basis of The Potato Farm Tapes along with rare tracks that previously appeared on compilations.
Review: Primitive Brumbeat is the order of the day from Minimal Wave on this presentation of early Karl O'Connor material. Recorded under the Sandra Plays Electronics banner, Her Needs presents two versions of the same track from different periods of O'Connor's musical development and provide further enticing historical evidence of one of techno's most illuminating figureheads. Those who indulged in the brilliant White Savage Dance 12" from Downwards from late 2011 will be all over the DIY odes to O'Connor's childhood heroes such as DAF and Liaisons Dangereuses here. The 1999 version in particular which originates from the same recording sessions that ended in the seminal Diversion Group release A Man Has Responsibilities.
Review: The 34th release from Brooklyn's Minimal Wave imprint digs deeper into the musical brain of Danny Bosten. Most commonly known for his Das Ding project, the Dutch synth pioneer also dabbled in a totally un-sequenced, freeform approach as Schedelvreter (which loosely translates as "Skull Gobbler") releasing Hunter, a cassette of this material via his own Tear Apart Tapes label in 1985. Minimal Wave has now fully remastered the seven tracks from that cassette for your digital consumption. Intriguingly, the music on this release was apparently composed on a steadily malfunctioning Crumar synth Bosten was using which would sporadically throw out sounds that were eerily human, whilst drums were created by layering noise. At a time when laptops offer almost infinite possibilities, it's interesting to hear how musicians from previous ages managed to create with such limitations imposed on them.