Cherrystones` Critical Mass Volume 2 – subtitled Hearts Of Champions – features 18 funky `80s fusions of electronics and rock. Finds, not necessarily funky in a James Brown on-the-one way – though you can shake a leg to most of it – more funky in a greasy, gnarly way. Where the artists might not have known quite what they were doing – mistreating their machines and slapping their basses – but through serendipity succeeded in shining, and producing pieces that are truly unique – while still remaining accessible. Pop-not-pop moments born of brooding musicians that, post-punk, pushed in the dark direction of industrial and goth. The compiled, often DIY, sides hailing from Belgium, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and US. From Boston to Barnsley. Much of it sounding like it could have featured in a set by legendary Belgian DJ “Fat” Ronny Harmsen holding “dirty, decadent, uneasy” court at Antwerp`s Ancienne Belgique. Or the radio broadcasts of Ronny’s biggest fans, Sven Van Hees and Paul Ward, aka Liaisons Dangereuses – as they unwittingly birthed new beat.
Angular axes, crunchy cold wave, the tumbling martial tom-toms of concrete jungle tribalism. Not talking but shouting teutonic drums. Banging and crashing out nocturnal marches. Backing dystopian tales and occult verse. The electro stomp, grind, and jive further darkened by icy synth walls but occasionally brightened by brass blasts and snake-charming sax serenades. Or softened by the acoustics of cello, piano, and violin. Moogs are made to pogo. Guitars throw zither / oud-like shapes, fizz with feedback fuzz, or generate Martin Hannett`s famous “a certain disorder in the treble range” (check, for example, the Bernard Sumner like “shredding” on November Group`s Night Architecture). Vocals are stuttered, bottom-end growls. Morse code melodies are washed, scrubbed, in ambient noise. Their collective metal-dance creating a kind of psyche-disco. Clanking, pounding, strutting its stuff, wrought in a strange sonic space where glam gives way to punk, glitter to glue. Musically try to imagine a mad, cosmic mix of Executive Slacks, Fingerprintz, Tackhead, and Ministry’s Twitch. Joy Division jamming with an even barmier B52s.
You can order a copy of Cherrystones` Critical Mass Volume 2 “Hearts Of Champions” directly from Touch Sensitive.