First-ever survey of pioneering Italian experimental electronic label Trax (no, not that Trax), focusing on inter-continental auterism and one-off collaboration. Trax Test: Excerpts From The Modular Network 1981-1987 contains some of the earliest works by acts who would go on to be pillars in the worldwide noise & experimental music community; most notably Nurse With Wound’s Colin Potter and Japanese noise deity Masami Akita aka Merzbow. The artists documented here were obsessed with stretching the limits of what could be considered palatable, or even enjoyable; opting for names like Cancer, E. Coli and Nausea, and reaching for even more provocative lyrics, deployed in Genesis P-Orridge-style spoken word pieces over dark, buzzing synths, ice cold motorik rhythms and droning atmosphere. Almost as important as the music contained in these releases is the artwork, oftentimes produced in extremely limited runs using minimal resources in a strict DIY fashion by the artists themselves, many of which are outlined in detail in the booklet included here. These tracks (trax?) run the gamut, taking inspiration from new wave, krautrock and Factory Records while still retaining a fiercely DIY attitude: Merzbow’s “Kimigayo” is an infectious chunk of punk-funk in the vein of A Certain Ratio, while the demented bossa nova waltz of Piermario Ciani, Vittore Barone, Nocturnal Emissions (featuring Caroline K) & De Rezke’s “Live Blister Bump” recalls the sinister calm of TG’s 20 Jazz Funk Greats. MA Phillips even does a cheeky take of The Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’.” Also be sure to check E. Coli’s “Borax,” Zone Verte’s “Le Fantome De L'Elephant,” Piermario Ciani’s FM funk freakout “Co.Mix” and the lo-fi kosmische of Nostalgia’s “Biosolution for Today.” The comp pulls you so deep into a catacomb of damp Italian basements filled with synths and drum machines that the simple guitar riff that turns up halfway through on B-Sides’ PIL-esque “Trybuna Ludu” is extremely disorienting. Trax Test will be a miracle for fans of obscure European wave & experimental electronics, as many enthusiasts have simply resigned themselves to the fact that they’ll just never own these releases on cassette - let alone vinyl. Essential for fans of Throbbing Gristle, Minimal Wave et al. 25 tracks culled from 16 separate cassette & vinyl releases on the Trax label (each currently trading hands for well over $100 online), compiled by Italian wave specialist Alessio Natalizia aka Not Waving for his own Ecstatic Recordings label and pressed on deluxe white vinyl - limited to 200 copies! Includes 16-page booklet detailing original album art and release notes. Recommended.
- white colored vinyl
- double vinyl pressing
- limited to 200 copies
- 16-page full-color booklet included
- music label: Ecstatic 2017
reviewed by peanut dust 10/2017