Release Date: Apr 29, 2016
Record label: Cherry Red
Genre(s): Electronic, Pop/Rock, Experimental Electronic, Synth Pop, Post-Punk, Obscuro
“The music… is from a time that will never be repeated. It is raw and uncompromising, angry and desolate, the antithesis of rock ’n’ roll. Music by and for a blank generation.” That’s how music critic Dave Henderson describes the formative period of UK electronica, in the introduction to a new and impressively curated four-CD compilation of the period (spanning 1975-1984).
During the late '70s and early '80s, a crop of British experimentalists emerged with positions on conventional rock music that ranged from indifferent to hostile. Prompted by early electronic music and the advancements made by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk, and Throbbing Gristle -- and eventually their peers -- they plied their trade on equipment with names like EMS Synthi A, EDP Wasp, Korg MS-10, and ARP Odyssey. For many of them, guitars and drum kits were obsolete.
The evolutionary arc of the synthesizer has a completely different shape from the trajectory of the electric guitar. With a few exceptions, the guitar started out as a crude generator of exciting noise and dance energy—a fundamentally teenage sound. Then it gradually became an ever more subtle expressive implement, with a huge textural range. Synths, in contrast, started out prog: they cost a fortune and were challenging to operate, and this made them the preserve of established performers generally of virtuosic and artistically ambitious bent.
For those of us who hit our late teens circa 1979, trying to contextualise the fragmentary youth mindset of that particular era makes for an endlessly fascinating itch to scratch. I still walk those memorably chilly streets all the time in my mind, and even within that waking dream I still fully expect to get jumped – in a piss-baptised, era-specific underpass – by some accursed archetype from a greater variety of style tribes than had ever existed before. Punks, mods, skins, gang gargoyles, footie felons, psychotic smart-casuals: all were eager to have a go, yet all were mutually disenfranchised.
A feast of synthetic sounds from the pre-digital electro-punk archives. The genesis of British DIY electronica is a fascinating shadow history running in parallel with the prog, punk and post-punk scenes, uniting them in experimental intent and underground attitude. ADVERTISINGinRead invented by Teads .