All Posts,Old Music,Radio — Dan on July 13, 2007 at 3:31 am

Beats In Space

A few weeks ago I had the awesome pleasure of being a guest DJ on Tim Sweeney’s Beats In Space radio show. We had been talking about early industrial music, Fad Gadget and the early days of Mute, so he invited me on to play some of that kind of stuff. I had last played on his show in 2005 as part of the Crazy Rhythms DJ duo with Mike Simonetti of Troubleman Unlimited and now Italians Do It Better(nice neo-italo/new-wave stuff). You may want to check that show out…I started with a bit of a post-punk set, opening with Paul Haig’s Mad Horses, a song I’d been playing since discovering the Fruit of the Original Sin compilation in college, but had never even thought of it in a DJ context untill Trevor Jackson sampled it on the Playgroup album and now Prins Thomas has posted it on Bumrocks. Anyway, Mike and I trade off, and later on after some italo-disco, I play Robert Fripp, Love of Life Orchestra, Haircut One Hundred, The Dragees, etc, then Mike, Tim and I all start switching off. You can see that playlist here. Anyway, I want to go into some details about the more recent show, because I have a blog now, and I can go on and on and on about whatever I want.

I met Tim Sweeney when we were both DJing happy hours at Plant Bar in NYC. It was after it’s heyday as the place where Fatboy Slim or the Beastie Boys would drop in unannounced, but before the halcyon days of the post-punk disco revival of the early 2000s. I had started my Transmission party, playing a mix of post-punk and disco (shocking), and Tim was fresh from a stint with Steinski and working with the DFA. In the years since, we’ve DJd together a few times and both of our first mix CDs came out on the awesome RVNG label. Disco was the main thread but little bits of industrial would pop up here and there, like Tim using Throbbing Gristle’s Hot on the Heels of Love on his mix CD.

If there’s one thing that’s become apparent DJing since the early 90s, it’s how many people in the techno, house and now nu-disco (or whatever) and especially electroclash scenes had some sort of background as industrial music listening teenagers. You would always hear the occasional Nitzer Ebb or Front 242 tracks in techno sets, but the stuff I was digging was mostly older and coming from more of a record dork than a club DJ background. I knew I couldn’t impress the minimal synth collectors, with their 100 dollar 7″s and their endless mp3 blogging, but I figured a good deal of Tim’s audience may be coming from more of a dance background and might not be as familiar with some of this stuff. Tim initially asked me to play “early Mute stuff” so I kept that in mind. I started picking out some Minimal Synth stuff as well, which is very trendy these days. Personally, I have trouble buying into the whole “genre” as I find it to describe less a sound that applies equally to some fascinating experimental electronic stuff as it does to some terrible third rate wanna-be New Wavers. The idea of the aesthetic is one I totally dig, but too often I find the whole darkwave/coldwave aspect of it a bit too silly, or the songs just aren’t there. So I thought I would pick out some of my faves and the selection really just became a sort of nebulous collection of songs, the only criteria being late 70s/early 80s, electronic, and I like it. There are some almost dancey early synth-pop type tracks, some really cool experiments, some classic industrial type stuff. Anyway, I’ve gone on enough and will probably go on more about each song, so let me just get to it.

Dan Selzer on Beats in Space, May 29th, 2007
Download Part 1
Download Part 2

Part 1

1. Voice Farm – A.M. City – Optional

Voice Farm were a duo from San Francisco. They self-released 2 singles, the second of which, Double Garage>>Elevate, was re-released on/through Alternative Tentacles and is pretty easy to find(and recommended). Most of the early stuff is great repetitious arty synth-pop, and while this song, the first on their first LP, The World We Live In, lacks any catchy lyrics, I’ve always loved it’s mood and often start sets with it. They continued to release music into the 90s but I haven’t heard all of it.
Voice Farm on
Voice Farm on Lost Bands of the New Wave Era
Member Charly Brown is now a designer, check out his interior for the “voice farm recording studio”.

2. Thomas Leer & Robert Rental – Interferon – Industrial

Thomas Leer is a name one hear’s me say a lot. He’s had a fascinating career and while remaining somewhat obscure, has managed to both pioneer and influence several important aspects of electronic music in the late 70s through the 80s. I’ll mention more when we get to his first single. After Leer and Robert Rental individually released their first singles, they teamed up and recorded some demos that got the attention of Throbbing Gristle who signed them to their Industrial label and lent them some gear to record. The result was The Bridge, a truly awesome album. Like Bowie’s Low, it’s split into two sides, a pop side and an instrumental side. The first side contains awesome industrial rock songs with lyrics and vocals by either Leer or Rental or both. The songs are dark pop songs, with lo-fi drums, sequenced synths and simple melodies and scratchy guitars. On the flip-side you get more experimental pieces, some of which are downright ambient, like this track, which I use here and a few other places between songs. Some tracks have a more aggressive Throbbing Gristle/Cabaret Voltaire industrial sound, while some have more of an ambient Eno feeling. Taken as a whole, The Bridge is one of the great Industrial (the genre, not just the label!) records of all time and a landmark of the early industrial/new wave/post-punk period. I’m sorry I didn’t play more of it, particularly the more “pop” stuff like my fave from the A-side, “Monochrome Days”, with a great Leer vocal. Luckily you can still get this on CD.
The Bridge from Amazon US
The Bridge from Amazon UK
Check out the reviews…sombody in the US get’s the idea but on the UK site the review says “Warm Leatherette, it isn’t.” Than goes on to recommend the proto-ABC Vice Versa–good luck finding it!

3. Silicon Teens – TV Playtime – Mercury

After recording and releasing Warm Leatherette as the Normal, Daniel Miller created this fake band, primarily to record goofy synth-pop versions of oldie rock songs. While somewhat of a novelty, the records are really cool, and on their 1980 LP Music for Parties, amidst the covers is this awesome original.
Cool article about Daniel Miller’s home studio

4. Richard Bone – Emerging Melodies – Rumble Records

Richard Bone was a NYC based artist who’s band Shox Lumania came out of the same art/music scene as Klaus Nomi. He started releasing pop singles like Digital Days, which would later appear on Cherry Red’s Seeds V, Electronic compilation, where I was first exposed to him. He then had some releases on Survival Records, the people behind Drinking Electricity. I later found this record, Emerging Melodies, which is a collection of instrumental pieces meant to accompany a video.

5. The Human League – Being Boiled – Fast

I felt like this show wasn’t all about the obscure, I wanted to include some of records that were really influential in this context. Coming out of fertile Sheffield scene, where, perhaps due to Cabaret Voltaire’s existence, electronics seemed to be everywhere, The Human League became popular enough that people sometimes forget their more out-there beginnings. While this single and their first two LPs wouldn’t be the huge success that Dare would be a few years later, Being Boiled must’ve been a big influence on the first generation of new wave artists. And we’ll be talking a lot about Fast Product here on over the next year or so! Anyway, I’d like to share these lyrics from the Undertones’ My Perfect Cousin

His mother bought him a synthesizer
Got the Human League into advise her
Now he’s making lots of noise
Playing along with the art school boys

6. Chris Carter – Moonlight – Conspiracy International

Always my favorite Throbbing Gristle, Chris Carter was responsible for the pretty, poppy, krautrocky sequenced synth stuff. When I first go into TG in high school, as much as I like the grinding noisy stuff, it was tracks like Hot on the Heels of Love and AB/7A that really got me. I was also really into the solo Chris Carter CD, The Space Between. Originally a cassette release on Industrial, it was released on CD by the Grey Area of Mute. I probably should give a great deal of thanks to the Grey Area…it was Mute’s industrial reissue series in the 90s or so. Back when CDs had long-boxes, I used to just look for the ones that had the grey artwork I recognized as Mute. There was a compilation, called Tyranny of the Beat which was where I first heard Can and the Swell Maps. The Space Between is a mix of arpeggiated/sequenced synthpop not unlike this track or AB/7A, more ambient synth stuff and some proto-electro stuff. Really great. This track is from his 1985 Mondo Beat LP but I first heard it on a CTI compilation. Chris and Cosey’s records through the 80s are really wonderful and they’ve always gotten the props they deserve for being techno pioneers what with Carl Craig remixes and whatnot.

7. Associates – Message Oblique Speech – WEA

The Associates may be the most unlikely band to make this list, and suprisingly enough make it twice. They came out of the scottish post-punk scene with affiliations with the Cure and gigs with the other scottish greats like Scars, Josef K and Fire Engines. After their first LP, the great post-punk The Affectionate Punch, they got into electronics and by the early 80s are seen as a classic New Pop/synthpop band on the strength of one or two UK chart/club hits. But even on Sulk, the LP that contained those songs, they are a much darker and more experimental band than they sometimes get credit for, and prior to that there was a series of very avant-garde mostly electronic releases, compiled as the LP Fourth Drawer Down. This song demonstrates the two things that made thm so great…Billy Mackenzies baroque vocals and absolutely unique and bizarre production of Alan Rankine. I don’t know if it was all about the effects they used or what, but while so many other records of the period have such particular sounds, “oh, that’s a drumulator and a prophet, an arpeggiator, an octave bassline”, the Associates stuff just sounds totally unique. When Rankine left the band, the lost a great deal of that quality, though Billy still had some great songs and some great help, while Rankine’s work with Paul Haig and others didn’t sound nearly as inventive as this.

8. A.T.R.O.X. – Against The Odds – Trianciato Forte
This one I don’t know much about. I found it on one of those Flexipop bootleg comps. I don’t know the history of Flexipop, I know it was a new wave magazine and I know at some point somebody started making bootleg CD mixes called Tribute to Flexipop, None Night of Flexipop, New Wave Complex etc. Some of these pre-dated the age of internet sharing and were CDs people copied for each other. In the age of soulseek, they just became virtual compilations for downloading. It was a great way to learn about new bands, but the ratio of bad stuff to the transcendently beautiful (like this track) is a bit tough! This track seems to have risen to the top of the minimal synth heap for good reason. Just beautiful stuff. Can anybody help me out?

9. Our Daughters Wedding – Airline – Design

NY band who released 2 singles on the Design Records label (their own?) before signing to EMI who re-released the 2nd single, “Lawnchairs/Airline” and the LP Moving Windows which isn’t quite as good as this.
Our Daughters Wedding on

10. Paul Haig – Time – Twilight

Keeping with the more upbeat synth-pop segment, this is the B-side to Paul Haig’s first solo single after leaving scottish post-punkers Josef K. The A-side is a really awesome cover version of Sly Stone’s “Running Away”, which I first heard on the aforementioned Seeds V Electronic comp (thank you Cherry Red and James Kyllo!). Running Away actually just got comped on the Nouvelle Vague presents New Wave CD. Nouvelle Vague are the group who do bossa-nova-esque versions of new wave/post-punk songs, which is a pretty cute novelty but not something I’d listen to regularly, but this compilation is just awesome and I’m glad to see Running Away get some love. Anyway, back to the B-side, yeah, a great little synth-pop gem with some disco drums. Haig’s solo career would get even poppier and he’s gotten a lot of heat from Josef K fans and other post-punk kids and collectors. I however consider myself a fan, and love a lot of his 80s stuff, from the New Order produced The Only Truth, fun club stuff like Never Give Up, Heaven Help You Now, Blue For You and Big Blue World, and the occasional b-side like Chance, one Paul Haig track I’d recommed to any Josef K fan, at least it’s fast and frenetic.
James Nice of LTM on Haig and Josef K
Paul Haig on Myspace

11. OMD – Bunker Soldiers – Virgin

Man did it blow my mind when I first heard this. Like many of the younger John Hughes generation, I just remembered “If You Leave” from Pretty in Pink and constant MTV rotation. Hearing the first few albums really kicked my ass and I count them among the very best, if not the best, synth-pop there ever was. They kick Depeche Mode’s ass.

12. Thomas Dolby – Europa And The Pirate Twins – Cherry Red

Another track thanks to Seeds V. I was familiar with the hit (who wasn’t?) and my electro-funk/hip-hop DJing days made me aware of his awesome contribution to the world of breakdancing by producing Whodini’s Mr. Magic’s Wand, but I hadn’t heard anything else untill I got that used copy of the Seeds. For those unfamilar, Seeds was Cherry Red’s attempt to make a Nuggets or Pebbles for the punk/post-punk/new-wave era, only they did in in the late 80s. Maybe it was too soon? I discovered my first volume of Seeds in the mid 90s, sparking a renewed interest in digging deeper into (mostly) UK 7″s from the late 70s/early 80s. I already had an impressive amount of Factory and Crepuscue records and CD reissues of stuff from that period, but wasn’t familiar with say, Garage Class of Five Or Six.

13. Matt Johnson – Time Again For The Golden Sunset – 4ad

As far as The The is concerned, I remember when Infected was on 120 Minutes and I stole my sister’s copy of Soul Mining but lost it ages ago. It wasn’t untill I bought the CD of Thomas Leer’s The Scale of Ten which featured liner notes from The The’s Matt Johnson that my curiosity was piqued again. I quickly learned that Leer had helped out on Soul Mining, and that prior to the The The records, Johnson had released a record called Burning Blue Soul under his own name on 4ad. And what a record. It’s a really awesome mix of strange tape-loops, world instruments, extensive use of effects, just really cool stuff, and this song I find the most bewitching. The same week I played this on the radio, M&Ms started using The The’s This is the Day in a TV commercial. Coincidence?
Matt Johnson in conversation with Johnny Marr, great stuff from the extensive The The webiste.

14. Robert Rental – Double Heart – Mute

Finally getting to the heart of things. (the double heart?) Robert Rental was one of the originators. In 1978, Rental released his own 7, Paralysis/ACC, electronics, guitars, lo-fi, deeply personal. And like Leer’s first single and their work together on the Bridge, it’s not purely electronic, not the proto-synth-pop/new wave of Warm Leatherette or Being Boiled, this is something else. Closer in sound to TG or the Cabs, but more accessible, I don’t know how else to put it, just more personal. Following this single, Rental went on tour with Daniel Miller as Robert Rental & The Normal, as part of the Rough Trade tour with Essential Logic and Stiff Little Fingers. A segment of this was released by Rough Trade as a 1-sided record(see below). This was followed by The Bridge and finally Rental’s last release, Double Heart/On Location, an early Mute single. Daniel Miller got Robert Gorl from DAF to play drums and Thomas Leer added some keys. It’s practically a rock band. While it may not fit the “synth” theme so specifically, it’s more about the mood, a really great song. And that was it. Rental never released any more music and unfortunately passed away a few years ago. Also unfortunate is that Rental’s music is out of print. In addition to those two singles and the Rough Trade release, there’s a collection of demos circulating on the internet. Luckily, you can get this Mute single on CD as part of a great box-set called Mute Audio Documents 1978-1984 that just came out which contains all the classic original Mute releases.
Gutterbreakz on Robert Rental in 2004

15. Thomas Leer – Private Plane – Oblique

And we finally get to my fave! I remember the day pretty well. The Oberlin Co-Op Bookstore record dept. had CD listening stations and I spent most of my sophomore year there being educated by Dave Toddarello and Todd Hutlock. I would say “play me something I’ll like”. Dave knew I was a Cabaret Voltaire fan, knew I was into obscure british post-punk and new wave stuff and knew I’d lose it for this. He brought over a stack of CDs and on top was the Cherry Red compilation CD Contradictions, the first two tracks being Private Plane/International, followed by the later material from the 4 Movements ep, the Contradictions LP and the a-side of the All About You 12″.

But let’s focus on what I heard first. Private Plane, like Rental’s releases, were electronic but also used conventional rock instruments like bass and guitar. The production sounded a bit like Cabaret Voltaire, and similar to the cabs, there was a distinct 60s garage psychedelic feel, especially in the keyboard…on this song, there is a way that the keyboard/organ melody is played, and processed that sounds not unlike Richard Wright of Pink Floyd jamming the Dr. Who theme song. I wish that description did it justice! But this is the birth of real DIY and the birth of the real New Wave. Not some punk rock retread, this is one guy in his living room, playing all the instruments, recording it himself, releasing it himself, in 1978. However he was a better songwriter than most so you really get the best of all worlds with this.

I’ll probably talk about him a lot more in upcoming posts, but as a tease, I can say that his early 80s solo stuff, which makes up the rest of the Contradictions CD, became more funky and dancy and soulful, but the production was no less interesting, like a cross between early Cabaret Voltaire and Heaven 17. The 12″ All About You, was his glossiest produced song to date and while it’s A-side may have lost the interest of the industrial/post-punk world, it’s a sign of new pop to come and it’s B-side, the instrumental, was picked up as an Italian Cosmic classic, the early 80s scene where DJs in italy played UK new wave, krautrock, african music and disco at slowed down speeds. The revival of interest in the Cosmic music scene amongst DJs and producers today has lead to a revival of interest in Thomas Leer.

The mid 80s would bring Leer to a new phase and a major label, where he recorded immaculately produced, glossy fairlight pop/dance music that is quite wonderful, but I wouldn’t assume fans of the type of stuff I played on this show would take to right away! This material was compiled on The Scale of Ten CD. He followed this up with Act, a collaboration with Claudia Brucken from Propaganda, finding him working with Trevor Horn on ZTT, another master of the Fairlight. I read somewhere that they butted heads–to be honest, as much of a genius Horn could be, I can’t imagine Leer needing anyone’s production/arranging help or input! Act wasn’t as successful, comercially or critically, as hoped(though a few songs, namely Absolutely Immune and Snobbery and Decay are favorites of mine) and Leer took a break for a bit, but now he’s back…
Thomas Leer on Myspace
The Contradictions CD goes in and out of print care of Cherry Red and it’s unclear whether you can purchase the tracks online right now. Maybe there’s something we can do about?

16. Robert Rental & The Normal – Live – Rough Trade

This is the live release I talked about a bit in the Robert Rental description above. One really cool thing is there is amazing footage of this. In 1979 The South Bank Show did an episode dedicated to Rough Trade. Along with great footage like Mayo Thompson recording the Raincoats, it features the 1979 tour with live segments from Stiff Little Fingers, Essential Logic and Robert Rental & The Normal and some footage of Rental or Miller’s home studio. I have a 12th generation VHS of this show, anybody have this in good quality? On DVD? Anybody know who to talk to at the South Bank Show, maybe we can put this DVD out?
Entry on Julian Cope’s Head Heritage site

17. John Bender – 35A9 – Record Sluts

Tropical Jeremy Campbell turned me onto this guy. Coming out of the art and music scene in Cincinnati in the late 70s/early 80s, which I hope to learn more about soon from some tapes promised to me, John Bender was a really unique and mysterious artist. His records are impossibly rare and absurdly expensive. They were released as art objects, numbered, stamped, and in one occasion, encased in plaster. He gets grouped in with the minimal synth thing, but I find his music a lot more experimental and personal. There I go again with that term. I’m not sure what it means, it’s just in situations like this where it sounds like the artist is sitting there with you, whispering the lyrics in your ear, a bit tuneless, a bit desperate sounding, but completely engaging on deep level. And Bender’s music—drums built out of analog synths, droning synths, some sequenced some played, beautiful repeated melodies and dissonant drones. All his tracks sound uniquely like him, some veer a bit closer to some sort of conventional synth-pop/industrial, while many have more in common with krautrock and artrock. Giving us the only idea about his influence and helping give some context is that he covers Rainy Day Sunshine Girl by Faust. There’s also a song called Mallinder which actually sounds quite a bit like certain periods of Cabaret Voltaire, stuff like Invocation or Diskono and I don’t think it’d be a stretch to suggest he was into the early UK industrial stuff, but it all has his pretty unique stamp on it.
John Who?

18. Group:XEX – Delta Five – XEX

Another american oddity. A pioneering electronic band formed in central NJ, they remained in obscurity until Tom Smith of To Live and Shave in LA found it while digging through the archives of WFMU. CDrs of the record started to circulate, I got one from Fitz of the Twisted Ones and eventually Smith managed a small pressing of the CD via the Smack Shire, where I think you can still order the CD. Anyway, I find this similar to Bender and the next track from Jeff and Jane Hudson. American artists no doubt influenced by krautrock, early UK new wave/industrial and the earlier american releases to experiment with synths and industrial decay and technological isolation, like say Devo. But there’s a quality these american groups have that seems different from the UK stuff. Maybe they’re lacking the industrial aggression that went with a lot of the UK stuff? There were american bands closer to that like Factrix, but there’s a naive charm to the american stuff.
Mike Appelstein got in touch with Waw Pierogi

19. Jeff And Jane Hudson – PCP – Lust/Unlust
Jeff and Jane Hudson started in Boston, with Pseudo Carol, as an art-punk band called The Rentals, who were really awesome. They put out a single, move to NY and released another single, then broke up. All 4 songs from those singles are awesome. Anyway, they formed a band called The Manhattan Project who opened for Suicide often. This is pretty apparent from this song from their next release. Released on Lust/Unlust, World Trade by Jeff and Jane Hudson fits nicely with other post-No Wave weird records like imPLOG!’s Holland Tunnel Dive, Dark Day or (cough) Ike Yard. For the record, I first heard this ep when nu-disco fave Brennan Green played it in Brooklyn.
Check out their official website
and myspace of course

20. Cabaret Voltaire – Seconds Too Late – Rough Trade

I’m not going to bother going on and on because you can read about them anywhere and I’m getting really tired of writing this! Seriously, Cabaret Voltaire have had such a huge impact on me, and on countless artists through the years, from the early industrial days, the electro-funk and synth-pop stuff, to Sweet Exorcist and on. I bought the compilation The Living Legends when I was 14 or 15 in high school, listened to it once, and put it away because it was too weird and scary. A few months later I tried again and I was hooked. For the rest of high school and college I was obsessed, even wrote a paper for electronic music class at Oberlin about Richard Kirk. They were still written off as “industrial” crap by most of the music dorks I came accross in the early 90s. When we all started getting into Rough Trade and post-punk I was like “see! Cabaret Voltaire are awesome!”. As much as I love all that later stuff, this pretty early stuff, with processed guitar, some live drums, strange tapes coming in and out, is as good as it gets.

21. Severed Heads – Exploring The Secrets Of Treating Deaf Mutes – Ink

Part 2
21. Severed Heads – Exploring The Secrets Of Treating Deaf Mutes – Ink
Another band often written off by those for whom “industrial” is a bad word, well it’s their loss. There was a period of association with Skinny Puppy, including sharing a label, and some design choices that made it easy to associate The Severed Heads with the more mainstream Wax Trax style industrial stuff, but I felt immediately that there was something else. A longer and more varied history that contains tons of amazing music, ranging from completely insance tape-loop experiments to sublime sequencer synth pop, and through it all, Tom Ellard’s unique lyrics and amazing melodic sense. I’ve always been partial to this song though which is relatively early, it may be their most conventionally “early industrial” release, something that would sit comfortably with the Cabs. What’s most interesting is over the years learning about other experimental Australian drum machine bands. SPK, Slugfuckers, Primitive Calculators. The Severed Heads took it to a whole other level. They’re also getting a huge revival due to the Cosmic and/or nu-disco scene, with DJ Harvey and others taking to tracks like We Have Come To Bless This House and Dead Eyes Opened getting the Glimmers treatment and a Joakim edit.

22. Joy Division – As You Said – Factory

I don’t know the story behind this. There was a time when Joy Division were all anti-synthesizer. Then they were convinced otherwise. I think there are still some crusty Joy Division fans who see New Order as a big sell-out. I don’t know how you could listen to this, or Isolation, and not think, of course they’d play with synth-pop and electro-funk. Anyway, this was always the big rarity, only appearing on the Komakino/Incubation flexi-disc. I found it on a wierd italian bootleg 7″. It got a legit, if obscure, repressing when Touch records put out the 12″ of New Order’s Video 5-8-6.

23. Pink Industry – Anyones Fashion –

When I was in summer camp, I met a girl named Liz Young. For several years we made mix-tapes for each other. I thought hers were pretty good and I thought I was really schooling her. With hindsight I now realize she was miles ahead of me. One of them included this amazing song. Pink Industry grew out of Pink Military, an early post-punk band from Liverpool. Prior to both these bands, singer Jayne Casey was in Big In Japan, the first major Liverpool punk band. I love the production on the Pink Industry records, drum machines, that nice post-punky chorused bass, weird noisy synths.
Pink Military/Pink Industry

24. Associates – The Associate – WEA

Another track from the Associates, and why not? This is a nice bouncy instrumental that belongs somewhere on a great new wave dance mix that doesn’t exist yet.

25. A Blaze Colour – Cold As Ever – Plurex
Another flexi-pop bootleg find. Apparently Belgium, this came out on the Plurex label, home to Minny Pops, Nasmak and I think the Twinkeyz for some reason? A big minimal synth classic.
A Blaze Colour on

26. John Foxx – Plaza – Virgin

After three awesome records with Ultravox that got progressively more electronic, John Foxx went as “electro” as you could go in 1980 with his solo LP Metamatic on Virgin. Definitely taking the minimal aesthetic to it’s most austere and extreme, and coming from somebody who’d been pretty successful and influential, and on a real record label, I imagine this had some influence on the minimal synth and new wave scenes. It was a time when most of the other electronic innovators were heading towards more maximal sounds…new wave, new pop, dancefloor action, chart hits, but Metamatic pointed somewhere else, and people came back to this record, especially during the electroclash years. For the record, I like Midge Ure Ultravox as well, and as for Ultravox with Foxx, prefer the Wrock and Roll of Ha! Ha! Ha! the most.

27. Rema-Rema – Fond Affections – 4AD

Here’s another one that comes up a lot when talking to me. I worked my way back to Rema-Rema. Since high school I’ve been one of the world’s biggest Renegade Soundwave fans. Their industrial club hip-hop whatever hybrid was the soundtrack to my reading Neuromancer and building illegal telephone devices as a teenager. It wasn’t until recently that I learned of their full history. Rema-Rema was formed by Gary Asquith, later RSW’s singer, Marco Pirroni, who’d go onto fame as the main Ant of Adam and the, Mark Cox and Michael Allen who’d form The Wolfgang Press and Max, who was Dorothy of the Dorothy single on Industrial records. Rema-Rema had one release, the 12″ “Wheel in the Roses”, which I was first introduced to by Todd, my partner in Acute. It features a side with two studio tracks and another with two live tracks. There was definitely a punk rock aspect, with lots of attention to guitars either feeding back or raging along. Meanwhile the synthesizer was strictly in the Eno/Ravenstine school of bubbling, gurgling sound effects. The vocals however are a bit hard to describe, kind of spoken, kind of sung. Not surprising as 10 years later Gary’s vocals would raise the same questions. Is this rap? Is he toasting? Singing? The most well known song on the EP is called, fittingly, Rema-Rema and has some sort of Metal Urbain/Hawkwind thing going on with Moe Tucker drums and the most brutal repetitious groove this side of Sister Ray. It got some exposure due to being covered by Big Black, which makes sense. And the other 3 songs are totally different, really, there was a surprising breadth to these tracks. The song included here, “Fond Affections”, is their mournful ballad, and is really quite beautiful, somehow. 4ad head Ivo would later cover it on a This Mortal Coil LP. The Wheel in the Roses EP was reissued on CD by 4ad in a limited edition, but is still available from them, as well as digital downloads. Rumor has it there’s also more songs from the live tapes this was taken from, maybe we’ll get to hear them some day. Renegade Soundwave pretty much broke up a few years ago, but Gary’s been busy with a fun project called The Lavender Pill Mob which I’ll probably post about soon.
Rema-Rema on
Purchase Rema-Rema from 4ad
Lavender Pill Mob on myspace

Le Coq Musique, Gary’s record label on myspace
Renegade Soundmachine, Gary’s RSW page on myspace

28. Tik and Tok – The Garden – Survival

The most interesting thing about Tik and Tok is not their involvement with the New Romantic scene or their synth-pop records on Survival, but the fact that they were a “robotic mime” duo and appeared in Return of the Jedi. I was about to embed a youtube clip of them miming but I decided not to. Just search them on youtube, you’ll find some great stuff.
Official site

And that’s it…Tim took over and played some great stuff very much inline with what we were talking about. Feel free to ask him about it!

Tim Sweeney takes over:
29. Chris and Cosey – Misunderstandings – Wax Trax
30. Fad Gadget – Sleep – Mute
31. The Leather Nun – Gimme Gimme Gimme – Wire
32. Soma – White Robes – Noise New York
33. Section 25 – Dirty Disco – Factory
34. The Human League – Empire State Human – Virgin
35. Silicon Teens – Sun Flight – Mute
36. Virgo – Do You Know Who You Are? – Radical
37. M.E. – Ride – Trax
38. Model 500 – Ocean To Ocean (Juan’s Magic Mix) – Kool Kat

And that’s my first real post for the Acute Blog! It only took 1,000 hours. Don’t worry, they won’t all be like this, they’ll be a bit like this but much shorter. Hope you enjoyed the show, thanks for listening, and thanks for reading!

(photos taken from various websites including the esteemed Woebot and Gutterbreakz…I’ll break out my camera yet)


  1. i’ve always wished Paul Haig had more tracks like “Mad Horses”

    Comment by Miguel — July 13, 2007 @ 1:30 pm
  2. god gave rock n’ roll to you, danny selzer.

    Comment by josh — July 13, 2007 @ 3:51 pm
  3. This was great fun. I’m sure it was a %$#@load of work to put this together, but I assure you it wasn’t in vain… Lots of great discoveries here, not the least of which was Jeff + Jane Hudson.

    I’ve added the new blog to my sidebar, by the way!

    Comment by Andrea — July 13, 2007 @ 8:46 pm
  4. thanks Andrea—I have no idea how Warped Reality didn’t make my blogroll! If you like Jeff and Jane, definitely check out the Rentals stuff, some of which was on some hyped2death Homework comps.

    Comment by Dan — July 13, 2007 @ 9:51 pm
  5. I’m always delighted to make the acquaintance of heretofore unheard (by me) Lust/Unlust stuff! I will definitely check out the Rentals too…

    Comment by Andrea — July 13, 2007 @ 9:55 pm
  6. That’s a pretty mindblowing way to do a setlist, can’t thank you enough for the information. Exposure to industrial/synthpop music via some cassette tapes left at my father’s restaurant in the mid-80’s imprinted on my childhood before I ended up rediscovering electronic music 5 years later, so it’s great to see/hear/read you delving into this material. The feed has been subscribed, this post has been recommended on my site (via google “share” RSS feed), and the site is being blogrolled even now. cheers!

    Comment by Logan 5 — July 14, 2007 @ 2:17 am
  7. Thanks…are you the Logan from ye olde ElectroDiscoPunks mailing list?

    Comment by Dan — July 14, 2007 @ 10:07 am
  8. I never was a teenage industrial head but there is some great music here. I was always suprised to like the dancey industrial stuff that Tim would play on his show. Big fan of your RVNG mix cd. Thanks for changing my expectations and perceptions on what “industrial” is and can be. Peace from San Diego

    P.S. I have linked your blog.

    Comment by DJ BWYSE — July 17, 2007 @ 10:43 am
  9. Thanks.

    I definitely think it’s to Tim’s credit, as with any DJing it’s all about context. Some of the ex-industrial kids turned techno DJs play very aggressive sets, which I think are especially popular these days that a lot of ex-indie rock/post-hardcore type kids are getting into dance music and all the new dance-rock type stuff, sometimes the energy of those sets are incredible, but sometimes I think it’s too intense or angry, whereas some DJs will mix it up a bit more with older stuff, with more soulful stuff, or poppier stuff. I think Tim has a more laid-back aesthetic so when he plays industrial stuff, even the more fascist stuff, it’s in the context of poppier stuff or disco or just less aggressive electronic stuff.

    Comment by Dan — July 17, 2007 @ 10:53 am
  10. Dan, thanks for this – a truly excellent mix. I was never into industrial so much (mainly cos there was nowhere I could really hear it in NZ), but I’m old enough to have heard a lot of this stuff on student radio in the early 80s. I really should play a lot more of this type of stuff out! I’ve put a link up to this on my site. Cheers!


    Comment by Bill E — July 18, 2007 @ 9:26 pm
  11. Thanks. I think “industrial” like so many other genres, punk especially, you get that period where it implies more an expansive experimental ideal and basic aesthetic, instead of some specific limiting style. By going back to that period, it’s fun to think about the style being limitless and not just cookie-cutter derivitive bands. Anyway, thanks for the link!

    Comment by Dan — July 18, 2007 @ 10:42 pm
  12. Absolutely brilliant set, thanks Dan

    Comment by Matt — July 19, 2007 @ 3:46 am
  13. Yeah thanks alot, a really inspiring choice of tunes.

    Comment by Beezer — July 19, 2007 @ 5:42 pm
  14. Thanks for all the kind words. I’m really psyched about how good the postive comments to spam I’m getting. (the spam doesn’t get through). I wonder if I started a blog about grade A Rolex replicas and onlime pharmacies if anybody would randomly start emailing me Object Music or Amin Peck information. I was gonna say a penis enlargement blog, but I guess in some ways all blogs are penis enlargement blogs, so to speak.

    Comment by Dan — July 19, 2007 @ 6:03 pm
  15. Dan, thanks for the xex link. Unfortunately, the CD’s not as available as it was; the owner of Smack Shire died earlier this year, and I’m not sure who’s handling his business affairs, if anyone. There’s a good chance that the CD could end up as rare as the LP (as happened with Dolly Mixture’s Demonstration Tapes a few years back).

    I did not have an industrial background. At all. I had college roommates and friends who worshipped Wax Trax!, but I absolutely could not get into it. But I did like Devo, Cab Volt, early Human League, YMG of course, and some 4AD goth. Combine the above, and you get a sense of why I was so excited by xex and your playlist in general (cheers for “TV Playtime”), but didn’t – and don’t – care so much for the drony/melodramatic side of minimal synth.

    Comment by mike — July 24, 2007 @ 4:48 pm
  16. I really enjoyed the mix and the insane amount of information about all the songs you’ve provided…a big thanks! I have not heard of about 80% of the music here. The deeper you dig the more you realize you don’t know it seems. Anyway, I now have more homework cut out for me…thanks again. This is a sound I really enjoy, I just didn’t know the who/what/when of it all, this is a great starting point.

    Comment by Adam Smith — July 26, 2007 @ 9:47 pm
  17. Thanks. I’ve been digging my whole life but there’s always another world of music around the corner! And this stuff has so many relatives, in post-punk, in krautrock, in art-rock, in new wave and industrial, in techno etc etc that there’s always something cool to check out. To me while it’s fascinating to explore a specific scene or genre, sometimes it’s really just about the sound or the feeling, that usually isn’t limited to an easy definition. Anyway, I wish I had blogs when I was first getting serious about music!

    Comment by Dan — July 27, 2007 @ 11:44 am
  18. hi dan here:
    you can find information about a.t.r.o.x.
    pierluigi andreoni was a menber of the band
    cheers from italy

    Comment by michele — August 7, 2007 @ 11:18 am
  19. nice write up…from what i’ve read, joy division’s “as you said” was down to the band being into kraftwerk, and often playing them before joy division came on stage to play live..

    Comment by 586 — August 9, 2007 @ 3:20 pm
  20. WOW….i didn’t even know that a Robert Rental & The Normal Live set was recorded. I’ve seen pictures of their performance….but never heard it. thanks :)

    Comment by beau wanzer — August 10, 2007 @ 6:05 pm
  21. Nice post! Now this is what a great music blog should be. Thanks for the story, the education, the great album covers and your personal take on it all.

    Comment by Jay — August 21, 2007 @ 11:37 am
  22. thanks. If I ever get my computer working again I may attempt similar posts! And you’re Jay who used to do the Play parties right? Thanks for that…

    Comment by Dan — August 21, 2007 @ 4:34 pm
  23. DAN!!! ..

    Man, from down town Sydney down under, thank you for an awesome platter of music that seriously wet my appetite.
    I only just listened to that April 28th show recently and was just brought to my knees by a track that wan NOT listed on the playlist.

    It was the last track of your first set, right after “Fearless 4 – Rockin’ It” ..

    Some generic house beat i’m assuming but none the less, desperate to get my hands on it! ..

    Any help would be muchly appreciated .. REALLY appreciated.

    Keep up the tight mixes brother! ..


    Comment by Blake — August 22, 2007 @ 6:06 am
  24. Hey, thanks. I’ll have to check, my computer is down so I can’t do it now. It may be something I put on or something Tim put on to talk over, I don’t remember, I’ll let you know when I get a chance.

    Comment by Dan — August 22, 2007 @ 11:43 am
  25. Thanks mate, truly greatful! ..

    Comment by Blake — August 22, 2007 @ 6:20 pm
  26. blake-it’s Davy DMX, the DMX Will Rock

    Comment by Dan — August 28, 2007 @ 9:58 pm
  27. Hello Dan,
    Madame Sadowsky is a New Wave cover band from Italy. We love Thomas Leer stuff and we did a cover of “Monochrome Days”.
    You can check it out here:

    Btw, this page is a very interesting and competent reading.
    Thank you!
    Madame Sadowsky

    Comment by Madame Sadowsky — March 21, 2009 @ 7:44 pm

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