Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Esplendor Geométrico - 30 Years Plus

In the words of New York producer Adam X: “When I think of the word ‘industrial’… I think machines, gears, factories with tall smoke stacks, Esplendor Geometrico means exactly that to me. Hard minimal rhythmic machine music that grinds like a huge device, cutting metal girders for large buildings. Though most would quote bands like Throbbing Gristle, Einstürzende Neubauten, and Coil as being the truest form of industrial, the music of Esplendor by far best describes the word industrial when actually applied to music”. (Ref: The Legend of Esplendor Geometrico)

Esplendor Geométrico (Geometric Splendor) is a Spanish industrial outfit formed in the early eighties by Arturo Lanz,  Gabriel Riaza and Juan Carlos Sastre. Saverio Evangelista joined - the only remaining member Arturo Lanz – in 1990. (Ref: Discogs)
Esplendor Geométrico's NADOR was originally published only in CD by the label of Dirk Ivens (Daft Records 1995).  Nine tracks recorded between 1988-1989 now remastered (2014).  Fans of Esplendor Geométrico have been waiting eagerly for this reissue of NADOR, a collection of unreleased tracks and alternative takes recorded during one of the best creative moments of the duo: the years of Sheikh Aljama and Arispejal Astisaró albums, an especially interesting period where the unique and characteristic rhytmic-industrial EG style, developed along the eighties, turns more minimalistic, schematic, cold and rough, with sporadic influences of arabic musics and rhythms. The minimalist structure of the tracks offers a strikingly modern approach. (Ref: Bandcamp profile)



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All music, photos and text copyrighted to their respective owners.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Vava Vol - 1984 Berlin Bunker Buster Babe

In the winter of 1984, on a night off from performing in Berlin, I had an opportunity to visit an underground bunker situated in the middle of Berlin beneath Alexanderplatz.  That winter evening my friends and I trudged through the snow to an inconspicuous sidewalk grating which, upon being lifted out, exposed a narrow stone stairway leading downward into an underground bunker. At the entranceway we were greeted by an old burned out electrical box which confirmed the bunker’s WWII construction and electrical engineering.


It was pitch black down there and all we had was one industrial flashlight to guide the way.  My friend had visited this place before and he led us down through the empty maze.  I was told to stay close by and not to wander, as this particular bunker was enormous.  One would not want to get lost in here!

My first impression was the odor down there, which was not too bad considering there was little or no air circulation.  The concrete walls and floors were very clean and there was no debris or garbage anywhere, just rooms and corridors and more rooms.  Although we were only several feet underground, you couldn’t hear a noise.  A very compelling and haunting place this bunker was. 

As we walked around, every room was painted with a sign indicating the limit of the number of people allowed per room.  This is where citizens would huddle during the Berlin air-raids.  This particular bunker provided shelter to 1,300 people.  In one room there was a sign that said “Gasschleuse” or “Gas Lock”, which would automatically lockdown the bunker from a poison gas attack.  I noticed about three feet of the walls had been stained brown and was told it was due to flooding in the bunker.  Water was constantly being pumped out through a line to the subway tunnels. We didn’t hang around down there too much longer as a sense of doom and gloom eventually swept around us.  Yes, if walls could speak, what stories they would tell.

All Photos © 1984 from the Vava Vol Berlin Archives.  All rights reserved.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Fraction Studio’s FSCD80-Eisenlager-Himmelholzsteg-2 – 2015 and Himmelholzsteg-7 (Featuring Vava Vol)

A French experimental cassette label from the 1980s, FRACTION STUDIO was created by Michel Nomized in August 1983 at Melun, France.  Its purpose is to promote and ...disseminate cultural facts by the use of image and sound and the production of new music, electro, minimal and other styles all without distinction, etc.  Listen, download and share Fraction Studio’s new compilation “FSCD80 Eisenlager Himmelholzsteg-2” here.

Here's my collaboration with Eisenlager on our track "Himmelholzsteg-7 (Featuring Vava Vol)".



For easy access to your free download go to

Have a look at Fraction Studio Compilation's cool catalogue on Bandcamp.

Michel Nomized is a multi-talented artist from Paris, France, a musician, composer, painter and puppeteer.  Joining the contemporary music scene in 1975, he worked with various groups, opening up on stage for artists such as Claude Nougaro and Bernard Lavilliers.  He became involved with Indian raga and formed his own group "Dhismâ", which marked the beginning of his study of repetitive music.  In 1983, he created Fraction Studio, a label dedicated to promoting and distributing musical forms without distinction, including minimalist and electro-acoustic.  Since then, over 90 Cassettes/CD's under his own name or in collaboration with other artists have been produced on different independent labels around the world.   Working on a concept of images and music, he continues to compose "sound environments" for art exhibitions (ex. Oslo, New York), to make new albums and to pursue his interest in the Mail-Art movement. (Ref: Michel Madrange -  Discogs)

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Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Roxy Music - The Thrill Of It All - Disc 2

Part of a 4-CD compilation box set, “Roxy Music – The Thrill of it All (2)” is a visual history of the band’s 1979-1982 promo music vids, British TOTP and German TV appearances and clips from their Frejus, France 1982 live show. 

I was more serious before I joined the band.” – Andy Mackay

Secretly, I wanted to look like Jimi Hendrix but I could never quite pull it off.” – Bryan Ferry

Slick dance moves, shiny suits, skinny ties, high heeled boots, 70s quiffs and coifs, subtle makeup and nail polish all formed part of art rock band Roxy Music’s trademark look during this period.  Throughout the well-filmed promo and live music videos of “Roxy Music – The Thrill of It All (2)”, there are close-ups of the sharp-suited, lanky, handsome Ferry crooning his love songs (sometimes singing a verse or two in French) and the suave, duck-walking Andy McKay wailing away on his saxophone, oboe and other horn instruments.  Not to forget Graham Simpson on bass, Phil Manzanera on guitar, Paul Thompson on drums and percussion and Eddie Jobson on synth and violin (Eno had left the band by then), this full spectrum of instruments gave Roxy their inimitable and unique sound.  The set décors were characteristic of the late 70s/early 80s and the close-ups of the musicians playing their instruments were exquisite.  It was a real pleasure viewing these vintage videos and is a note-to-self why I am still enamored by Roxy Music.  I have a new-found appreciation for their incredible legacy.