The late 1970's - early 1980's was a crazy, fun and highly experimental era for the music industry. In the pop world, disco was dying out and in the alternative world, punk rock was losing steam. Alternative bands like Siouxsie & the Banshees, the Smiths, the Cure, Joy Division, Echo & the Bunnymen and the Sisters of Mercy were creating a new sound unlike anything ever heard before, creating a new sub-genre of music called post-punk.
Also happening in the early 80's was the birth of a mainstream pop movement called New Wave, led by outgoing pop artists like Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Devo, Adam and the Ants, the Police and A Flock of Seagulls to name a few. The New Wave sound was rich with heavy synthesizers and drum machines it was fun to dance to and a brand-new cable tv channel devoted to just showing this brand new thing called music videos took the world by storm. What people do not realize was that there was this very brief, virtually unknown sub-genre of music that lived somewhere between Post-Punk and New Wave...
... minimal wave was a new style of music that evolved, largely due to the invention of drum machines and the synthesizer, which took the original organ sound and morphed it into something new and futuristic. In the span of a few short years, from about 1978 through 1982 or so, at home musicians were picking up these synths, drum machines and tape machines, making simple sounds and recording home demos on 4-track mixers. Bands like Kraftwerk and Blancmange started in the same way and took their music to the next level, eventually landing on a major label, but most of the artists who did the minimal wave sound were either self-releasing their music on cassette or starting their own record label to publish a very limited run 12" vinyl. When the New Wave music scene jumped to the forefront, many of these minimal wave bands either responded to that and hit the mainstream (Cabaret Voltaire, Severed Heads, Front 242) or disappeared altogether.
Minimal Wave records
Around 2005, Veronica Vasicka discovered some of these minimal wave artists and made the decision to preserve the music and work with the original bands to re-issue their music or release it properly for the first time ever on her label, Minimal Wave records. 11 years later, with over 40 artists represented, many of the MW releases are now out of print and collectible and there is now a brand new generation of fans on the minimal wave craze, turning these little known bands into cult heroes.
From Minimal Wave With Love
In May of this year, Minimal Wave made available an exclusive cassette mix tape of songs called From Minimal Wave With Love, going back in their archive that was for sale only at the Brooklyn Flea Record Fair. Now available on their website, but quantities are very limited.
In my first listen to this cassette, the vibe immediately felt brings me back to the strange, oddball movies of the early 80's like Dark Star, Night of the Comet, Liquid Sky and Escape from New York. The tape opens with fan favorite Linear Movement's 'Way out of Living', a space age dance tune with catchy synths and vocals by Lieve Van Steerthegem. Sluik is another band on the cassette that delivers a very cool track that opens with a retro drum machine, screeching guitars and distorted robot like vocals. 'Inside Out' by Martin Dupont is my favorite song on this cassette, it has a very fast beat and swirling synths and is very danceable. Das Ding & Lab80 have a song on here that reminds me a lot like early Cabaret Voltaire's album, Mix Up.
I own several records from Minimal Wave, and I love how this movement has attracted others to find other minimal wave artists and release them (check out Medical Records), so I am both lucky and honored to have this limited edition cassette only compilation. Due to that I of course am biased, so all I can tell you is that the Minimal Wave scene is not for everyone, but if you like early new wave music, or the non-conformity post-punk scene then I highly recommend you tune in, turn on and drop out to the Minimal Wave scene. - ChrisModem 4/5 stars