Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: Wierd Records overlord Pieter Schoolwerth and Dial Records producer and founder Paul Kominek.
Listed: Wierd Records + Pawel
In late 2006, a bulky, high-dollar compilation surfaced in select shops around the globe. Wierd Compilation attempted to join disparate scenes, sounds and personalities, ones bruised by time and experience; ones that chose to channel the healing, at least part of the way, through technology, in order to make connections with the world outside. It was, and still is, difficult to classify the contents of its three vinyl LPs and one 7” single, just in terms of volume. In short, Wierd surfaced as a collection of music representing a social event, a standing Tuesday night DJ party and performance opportunity, helmed by one Pieter Schoolwerth, and abetted by Glenn Maryansky at the now-defunct Southside Lounge in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Across minimal synth, dark rock, coldwave, and other products of a forlorn mindset, the sets included common threads of frustration, sadness, loss, and seduction, all of which demanded an emotional response. The weekly party has since moved to Home Sweet Home in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, and Schoolwerth’s label is finally getting the attention it deserves. For those just getting into his sound, Schoolwerth singled out the 10 records that first inspired him to get Wierd. The new compilation Wierd Presents: Cold Waves and Minimal Electronics comes out on Angular Records in the UK on February 22.
1. Nagamatzu - Sacred Islands of the Mad cassette (Mystery Hearsay/UK, 1986)
One of the true elusive masterpieces of minimal electronic music history composed of synth, drum machine, sampler and bass guitar from the amazing British artist Andrew Lagowski that has honestly been in my car stereo seemingly since the day I received it in the post a year or so after its release, and it has since been DJed to absolute loving death by the likes of Martial Canterel, Led Er Est and many of the other Wierd Party DJs for years. This little frozen cold jewel of a cassette has long been an inspiration for all of us in the Wierd World.
2. End of Data - Sahrah LP(Divine Records/France, 1984)
This LP, along with the likes of Can an Actor Bleed by Tanit, and Rue de Siam from Marquis de Sade remains one of the quintessential documents of the seminal years in the cold wave capital of the world Rennes, in the Brittany region of France, at a crucial time in European pop music history. Given to me by DJ Gilles Le Guen, who brought the Vague Froide sound from Rennes to Brooklyn in the late 1990s, trax such as “Sahrah,” “End of Data I” and “If I’m Not a Killer” still shoot chills up my spine every time I spin them.
3. For Against - In the Marshes EP(Independent Project Records/Los Angeles, 1990)
The legendary Independent Project Records, whose roster included the likes of Red Temple Spirits and Savage Republic, released this beautifully designed and recorded 10" EP from one of the most important cold guitar wave bands the US has ever known, out of Lincoln, Nebraska. Still making fantastic LPs to this day, the track “Amen Yves” from Jeffrey Runnings and Co. has long been one of the true tear-jerker Wierd Party shimmering dancefloor classics since the beginning.
4. V/A - Insane Music for Insane People Vol. 13 LP (Insane Music/Belgium, 1987)
Along with the likes of Al Margolis of Sound of Pig Tapes, and Chrs Phinney of the Harsh Reality Music label, Alain Neffe of the Insane Music label in Brussels (active since the early 1980s) has produced 50-plus releases (many of which are still available via Alain’s website), and was one of the crucial figures for the international cassette culture underground in the 1980s and ‘90s. The Volume 13 compilation LP remains one of his most important releases, featuring eminently restrained synth/wave trax from the likes of Canadian cold wave master Bill Pritchard, as well as Neffe’s own minimal synth projects Bene Gesserit and Human Flesh.
5. Opera Multi Steel - Cathédrale LP(Orcadia Machina/France, 1985)
OMS were one of the key bands who forged the minimal electronic sound in central France in the mid-1980s, and this is their true masterpiece. Cold, fast, frenetic, and incredibly elegant with carnivalesque French vox from the band that Baudelaire and Rimbaud would have undoubtedly been groupies of, this LP’s killer trax “Ils S’éloignent,” “Piscine à Tokyo” and “Du Son Des Cloches” have long been sing-alongs at the weekly Wierd party.
6. Red Temple Spirits - If Tomorrow I Were Leaving For Lhasa, I Wouldn’t Stay A Minute More (Fundamental Records/Los Angeles, 1989)
The second and last LP from my all-time favorite band from Los Angeles is one of the true cult classics of the American cold wave. This LP, as well as the band’s debut Dancing to Restore an Eclipsed Moon, have a sound so incredibly idiosyncratic and unlike anything I had ever heard, when I saw them live countless times with wind-machines and bells ablaze growing up in LA in the late ‘80s, that many of us at Wierd coined an entirely new genre - ‘The Gypsy Wave’ - to describe its intensely psychedelic, melancholic, driving hybridization of early LA deathrock, Led Zepplin and the middle eastern tradition of acoustic instrumentation. Find a copy of these records, they will change you life in Very Rare ways.
7. Intrinsic Action - Peepland: The Complete Singles (Bloodlust!/Chicago, 2006)
Mark Solotroff and his label Bloodlust! in Chicago has been home to all of his various projects, including I.A., Bloodyminded, A Vague Disquiet, The Fortieth Day, and most recently Anatomy of Habit, for over 25 years now, and is an absolute pillar supporting the industrial/noise community in the U.S., and has long been a true inspiration. Mark’s commitment to developing a label and aesthetic with an acutely potent, and clearly defined musical identity should be a frozen cold, guiding light to anyone who runs an independent record label today...and the lyrical brilliance and hedonistic, wet, heat-seeking pulsations of Intrinsic Action’s track “Sado-Electronics”...a mantra for life.
8. Gestalt - Le Sommeil du Singe (Just In Distribution/France, 1987)
This epic journey of a seven-track EP is one of the true cult jewels in the crown of the French Cold Wave (aka ‘La Vague Froide’) movement in France. Recently re-released by the venerable Infrastition label in Paris, I have long considered the band from Lyon’s brilliant track “Deuxième Ombre” to be my favorite guitar driven French cold wave song, hands down.
9. Lustmord - Paradise Disowned (Side Effects/UK, 1986)
A truly classic document of seminal industrial music proper, Brian Lustmord’s output has been frighteningly inspiring. Ever since I first heard the sound of cold, icicular bullets fired out of shotguns, and blistering chainsaws echoing and ricocheting off the massive stone walls in the basement of the Chartres Cathedral in France where Brian and Graeme Revell of SPK recorded this opus in 1985, the visceral imprint of this monster has never left my nervous system.
10. The Legendary Pink Dots - Curse (In Phaze/UK, 1983)
Edward Ka-Spel and Co. recorded this, their second LP, just before leaving the UK for artistic exile in the Netherlands a year later, and is a brilliant melding of early UK minimal electronic music with the darkly lysergic melancholy of Syd-era Pink Floyd and the great German Electronic bands of the 1970s. A perfect example of a ‘complete album,’ an artform that is slowly disappearing in contemporary pop music today amidst a ‘clicked-and dragged-to-death’ musical world which fetishizes the quick and easy downloadable three-minute ‘single.’ The entire record melts together and soars around inside your mind, perfectly balanced both technically and emotionally...track after track flows into one another and then you wake up and its over, firmly establishing the key figures and narratives in Edward’s ever expanding cosmology. The Terminal Kaleidoscope, sing while you may.
Paul Kominek has been releasing his own music since 1997, but you probably know him more for the label he started than the music he’s made. He is the co-founder of Dial Records, along with Peter M. Kersten, a.k.a. Lawrence, and David Lieske. Kominek was born in Poland in 1978 and grew up amid the techno scene in Frankfurt. Fame found him in 1998 when he released his first 12” as Turner on Hamburg’s Ladomat Records. He started recording tracks as Pawel on Dial in 2000, but never released an LP until now. Pawel’s self-titled album will hit stores in February 2 on Dial and will be reviewed here at Dusted in the near future.
1. Plastikman - Musik
The first Techno Album that I consciously and repeatedly listened to. “Goo” is still one of my favorite techno tracks ever, and this mix of cold digital and warm analogue acid was way ahead of its time. Anyone who wants to try minimal done right should get this record.
2. Sonic Youth - Washing Machine
In the early 1990s, I was living a double-life. During the nights, I went out to techno clubs in Frankfurt were I grew up, and during the daytime I admired Kim Gordon and her pals to the extreme. Not sure why that record got played most often at that time, as I don’t think it’s their best, but it features two of my favorite SY Tracks, “Little Trouble Girl” and “The Diamond Sea.”
3. Sten - TV
One of the first Dial 12”s and one of my favorite Sten EPs ever. I’ve carried this record in my bag since it was released in 2002. By now the scratches on my only copy of that little pearl are so severe that it can hardly be played, so I hope Pete still has one fresh copy for me in store somewhere. Definitely a good start to build up a Dial collection.
4. Public Enemy - It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold us Back
It’s hard to pick a particular Public Enemy record, as I loved all of them, but this is probably the one that I had on repeat most often. The first time I was attracted to any form of political messages in music. All held together by this amazing mixture of samples without any boundaries.
5. David Thomas Broughton - The Complete Guide to Insufficiency
A new singer-songwriter from Britain that I listen to quite extensively at the moment. The way he is recording his music (using Garageband, if you trust his Wikipedia entry) is just charmingly trashy. His voice slides between genius and madness. Beautiful.
6. DJ Sneak - Polyester EP 1 & 2
When I started to DJ, in the middle of the 1990s, these were two of my most played 12”s. Beautiful melodic house music, but never too cheesy, always a bit too clever. It was way before French house started, and I would bet that Thomas Bangalter and all the others had a big bite of these records as well.
7. My Bloody Valentine - Loveless
I saw them playing live for the first time just recently at a festival in Sweden. The concert ended with an approximately 10 minute long noise and feedback wall. Right afterward, Lily Allen started to play, and I felt this rebellious feeling from my teen-years growing in me again.
8. Matias Aguayo - Ay Ay Ay
As I wanted to mention at least two current records, this is my second one. In a few years, I think this will be one of the albums that will be remembered for a certain next step in combining different world-music beats and ideas into a new and contemporary kind of electronic music. When I went to Argentina a few years ago, Matias took me to one of their first Boom-Box parties in a deserted neighborhood of Buenos Aires. One ghettoblaster, 100 people, a wonderful experience.
9. Robert Hood - Internal Empire
It’s a bit difficult to pick out one particular album here again, as I listened to most of Robert Hood’s releases since I started to get interested into serious Techno Music. Jeff Mills and Robert Hood had an equally big space in my recordbag, but Robert lasted slightly longer. Having the chance to get a remix by one of your teenage heroes was a very big deal for me and I still love what Robert did with my track, “When Will We Leave.”
10. Arthur Russell - Another Thought
I admit that I came across Arthur Russell just a few years ago, while working on my last album as Turner, but the simplicity and variety of his compositions just blew me away. Still I think Another Thought is a great kind of compilation/album and a particular kind of future mainstream pop music, if you ask me.
By Dusted Magazine