Thursday, October 26, 2006

Other Music on Wierd

Here is what Other Music (NYC) had to say about the Wierd Records compilation in their latest update:

Wierd (sic) was an underground, coldwave/minimal synth "Cabaret Voltaire" of sorts that occurred every Tuesday night in the most perfect setting possible: a small, darkly lit old-fashioned Brooklyn bar where smoking was still allowed, filled with anywhere from ten to a hundred familiar faces, all dedicated in various levels to obscure, dark, romantic, REAL minimal/analog/synthwave. For most, the rarer the better. I almost hate to talk about it because, honestly, it was one of those secret spots that you could count on to be good, seemingly existing only for the people involved to enjoy. You could always come in and it felt like no other so-called "party" running in a city so hyper-aware of the trends. As well as various hardcore/darksoul DJs spinning their rarest, most beloved LPs and seven-inches, Wierd featured live shows, SO 36-style, in its stage-less space. Most of the performers were made up of regular attendees, DJs, and international supporters, some of them slinking on and across the bar in various stages of undress. Perhaps it's a good thing that the Wierd party has been rendered "temporarily out of print," on account of venue ownership changes and increasing police hassle. It burned bright and ended well before its spirit could be watered down or invaded by unwelcome "tourists." (Apparently, Wierd will resurface one day at an unknown location sometime in the future. There is also an underground, active chapter of this party in Berlin.)

Spread across three LPs and a seven-inch, all packaged in a beautifully printed gatefold sleeve containing a huge, color yearbook of sorts, this insane Wierd compilation of 32 unreleased studio tracks runs the gamut of minimal synthwave purism. Here you'll find the soaring Comsat Angels meets Sisters of Mercy coldwave of Blacklist; the analog dirge of A Vague Disquiet; the cold, dark, minimal Depeche Mode of Column; as well as the obsessively pure, icy analogue synthwave of Martial Canterel, Three to Forgotten and Epee Dubois. Many of these names might mean nothing to you, but some of you synthwave vampires might recognize these artists from extreme-cult, insanely limited, European-only vinyl pressings that eeked out over the last few years.

Fanuelle offers a beautifully wrought, surprisingly tender moment with "Here Is a Life," while Xeno and Oaklander come across like a minimal techno Liaisons Dangereuses with a cold bouncing beat, synth snare crash and floating Italian(?) female vox. The dark, martial mope of Epee Dubois' "Tracking Shot" also hits right on the mark, possessing the timeless dirge of slow Joy Division/Death in June. To me, the star of this compilation is Sean McBride for his masterful, full analogue contributions to Martial Canterel (solo), Epee Dubois (with Cheyney Thompson), Three to Forgotten (with Liz Wendelbo and Cheyney T.) and Xeno and Oaklander (Sean M. and Liz W.). McBride's general sound hits me like the darkest, unknown OMD B-side meets the coldness of a non-pop/non-new romantic/non-new wave John Foxx…which is one of the best things around!

It might go without saying but fans of the recent Lost Tapes compilation will find this immaculate collection absolutely essential -- Veronica Vasicka of Minimal Wave moonlights with Minus recording artist Marc Houle on this compilation as 2VM -- not only for the sound, but also for the beautifully obsessive, no-holds-barred packaging. The tradition celebrated in Minimal Wave re-releases is celebrated in modern times for the devoted. As expected, this is ultra-limited to 1,000 vinyl copies with no CD release planned at this point, and they've already sold half of the pressing at the recent opening party in Berlin (an NYC opening is coming soon in November!). Earns the highest possible rank in Wierd-speak: "Very Rare." [SM]