ARC067: Various Artists - Cold Waves & Minimal Electronics Volume 1
Artist: Various Artists
Release Date: 9th March 2010
Release Type: Compilation
Formats: Digipak CD, Double LP, Download
Nowadays the computer has largely replaced traditional analogue machines as the dominant generator of synthetic sounds. This has brought about a loss of scope for man/machine interaction and human fragility in the face of digital precision. This climate has inspired Wierd Records label and weekly live music party in New York (run by artist and DJ Pieter since 2003) to single-handedly revive the frosty 'cold' sounds of the minimal electronic groups of the early 1980s. Active largely in small towns and isolated, non-metropolitan areas of France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, and The Netherlands, the first wave of minimal electronic groups functioned at the time as a raw, aggressive, affirmative antidote to the superficial excesses of commercial new wave. Using analogue synthesizers, sequencers, and drum machines the 'minimal synth' artists successfully combined the sounds of the German electronic bands of the 60s and 70's (Amon Duul, Neu, Faust, Can) with the seminal early industrial bands largely active in the UK (Throbbing Gristle, SPK, Cabaret Voltaire) to produce a new form of electropop that went on to be crucially influential on European and American pop and dance music of the late 80's and early 90's (Italo, New Beat, EBM).
Wierd Records founder Pieter Schoolwerth has been fostering an archive of cold wave and minimal wave for almost thirty years. His unrivalled collection gave birth to the “radically confusing and glamorously uncomfortable” club night and now this compilation. Pieter has been waiting almost three decades for the rest of the world to be turned on to what he views as “a true movement of humanistic resistance against the vacuous contemporary excesses of modern laptop pop”.
Whilst Pieter had been immersed in this music since the early 80’s, Joe Daniel first came across the genre about two years ago when a friend played him some minimal electronic tracks. They contained analogue synths that sounded sharp and icy instead of the warm squelchy noises that a lot of people use them for, backed by the most primitive drum machines and oblique otherworldly vocals. This had an immediate and considerable effect on Joe. He loved the intrigue that most of this music came from groups who recorded a few songs, released a 7″ and then split up before anyone noticed what they were doing. “I like the impossible romance you can have with a band when all you’ve got is a tape with three songs on it all in French, and a single black and white photograph.”
Joe then made it his mission to search high and low to unearth the greatest gems of this synth sound in order to make a retrospective artefact of the lost genre of music known as cold wave.
In a fortuitous turn of events, Joe found himself in a New York club where he heard one of the tracks his friend had played to him. The DJ turned out to be Pieter, and as they began chatting it became apparent that Pieter had only given that track to one person, a friend of Joe’s friend. And so between four people, two years of solid research and love of an exceptional, underground scene, this unique collection was born.
Containing songs that have only been available up to now on ultra rare 7”s, lost radio sessions and cassette tapes , as well as never before seen photos and extensive sleeve notes about the genre.
‘Cold Waves and Minimal Electronics Vol.1’ is finally here to teach us all a thing or two about the history of electronic music the world over.
1. Absolute Body Control - Figures
2. Nine Circles - Twinkling Stars
3. Linear Movement - Night In June
4. Opera Multi Steel - Ils S'eloigent
5. Bal Paré - Palais d'Amour
6. Eleven Pond - Watching Trees
7. The Vyllies - Babylon
8. End of Data - Dans Votre Monde
9. The Actor - Lights
10. Ausgang Verboten - Consumer
11. Jeunesse d'Ivoire - A Gift Of Tears
12. OTO - Anyway
13. Ruth - Polaroïd/Roman/Photo
14. Stereo - Somewhere In The Night
15. The Neon Judgement - The Fashion Party
16. Land of Giants - Cannibal Dolls
17. Days of Sorrow - Travel