Today we have a wonderful little LP courtesy of the prolific David Toop along with, presumably, 48 others bright individuals. Coy, catchy pop with a marked intellectual slant. Think amateurism meets academia; progressive twee if you will. The first half of the album is composed of a dozen lovely vignettes while the latter half is, well, a pop-opera about a dragon terrorizing some faraway kingdom. If that doesn't convince you to give this album a shot nothing will.
Classic classic 4AD stuff. Groovy, dark, mellow(dramatic), all the hallmarks of a great 4AD single. I wish I could tell you more about this band but there's just about no info about them on the internet. The only other songs they've ever recorded were on a cassette compilation titled A Bucket of Sleet, which, unfortunately, is also nowhere to be found online.
Got a non sequitur from New York's No Wave scene for you guys today. The more ardent followers of this blog might recognize this band's song "Hello Texas" as being featured on the first volume of Homework. Really bizarre and tangential lyrics and singing with some thick synths and other fun instruments that come together to form a formless meandering mess of an album. I of course mean that in a good way, out of the mess comes this impressionistic variegated psuedo-drone a-la A.R. Kane or The Fall. Very unique and overlooked album from the scene.
S.M. Nurse are a band defined by their marginality. Crafting tunes that are simultaneously dense and dancey, these Dutch composites combine the hilarity of sampling professionals Negativland with the sound of a typical European minimal wave banger. It’s their marginality though- not belonging to any one genre, inhabiting the fringes and testing the limits of many different DIY and punky sounds which merits their listenability. By 1983 when the content of this cassette was performed, one might have thought that the functionality and allure of synth pop/minimal wave had fully run its course. Namely, that the highest highs had been reached, often in the form of singles by Euro weirdos who put out one mercurial release only to disband. But one only need to listen to lead singer Annekke Stempher’s repetitive, cocky, and digital (evoking Laurie Anderson’s definition- on again, off again) vocals, Jos Jak’s grainy, strung out, and paranoidally funky guitar tone, and Menko Konigs’ interlocked electronics to feel the bliss of their sound. The sampling is impeccable, not just telling sonic narratives, but providing lyrical narratives as well, done no better on the song “That’s The Body”, where a voice asks over and over “Did anyone touch you here, or here? Or here? Or here? Or here?” while Stempher and Jok lay down a dissonant funk.
Now here is a very interesting release. The Visit / The Seduction, which, as intuition might lead one to believe, is a compilation of two Ludus release from 1980 and 1981 named (you guessed it) "The Visit" and "The Seduction" respectively. As intuition probably wouldn't lead you to believe, this compilation also contains the singles "Mother's Hour" and "Anatomy Is Not Destiny". Now what actually makes it interesting is how splendid and bizarre this album is. Think post-punk from moon men. Think mercurial ballads and syncopated symphonies. Think Essential Logic but with even more talented individuals operating the instruments performing much more complex compositions. Fast, angular and disjointed guitar, phenomenally tight drumming, bass lines from Eden, and a singer who defies categorization, everything you could really ask for.
There's one last thing of note about this album that I found out only recently. I was lucky enough to come upon an original copy of "The Visit" EP and made a shocking discovery: it's not the same as the CD I'm sharing with you folks today. Entirely different takes of the same songs (albeit more or less in the same style). The oddest part about this is the fact that the CD booklet makes no mention of this discrepancy. I'm not sure if this holds true for "The Seduction" or the singles but it's an anomalous tidbit nonetheless. To my knowledge the EP isn't available online, so, as a special treat for you guys, I'll be uploading a rip of my copy of "The Visit" as soon as I find this god damned AC cable.
Never before or since has twee amateur hour (and a half) been so brilliant. Here we have a criminally obscure compilation on a criminally obscure label of some criminally obscure musicians and the Field Mice. Charming, coy, catchy, congruous, cathartic, clarion, cataclysmic, and much more, I would strongly advise against passing this gem up.