Dark Entries Records ends the year with 3 more re-issues for November. First up is a compilation of cassette tracks by Scotish band ALTRES “Archives” recorded between 1983 and 1986 on vinyl for the first time ever. Second is the super secret Danish cassette: THE PRODUCT “Alive Again”, originally released in 1984, now on vinyl for the first time. Lastly is our 35th release, a double LP from New Jersey cassette freaks SMERSH “Cassette Pets” that features 17 tracks of underground noise, techno and industrial rhythms.
DE-033 ALTRES – Archives LP
Altres are a band from Dundee, Scotland who originally formed in 1983. They were playing mostly instrumental, improvised electronic music at a time when very few bands, if any, were making this type of music in the UK. The Altres’ initial line-up was Jeremy Bryning (synths), Joseph Donnelly (synths), Kevin L. Guthrie (synths, sequencer, drum machine), Brian Hutton (synths, sequencer, vocoder), Mike Nelson (guitar) and Maurice Richardson (synths, sequencer, polysynth, drum machine). The band’s influences included Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Philip Glass, Throbbing Gristle, Faust and many others, but their sound is clearly their own.
After a few months of recording the band had a lot of material on tape, so they decided to release their first cassette “Rise” in 1984. Within that year the band managed to release 4 more cassettes: “Live at the Tayside Bar”, “Archive One”, “Archive 2” and “Angel Chords & Devil Chords”. The band also appeared on the audio magazine, INKEY$ – No10 cassette. We have chosen our favorite tracks from each of the cassettes for this special 7 song compilation album entitled “Archives”.
Most Altres compositions begin with a sequence and a drum pattern. These wrap around arpeggiated synth pulses, and are accompanied by shrill feedback. Instruments used on the recordings include Casio MT40 Moog Prodigy, EDP Wasp, Roland SH-101, Casio VL-Tone, Korg MS20, MS50, SQ10 Poly-61, Ibanez guitar and vocoder. All of the instruments are fed through various effects and echo units. Everything is played and recorded live – there are no overdubs.
Each song has been carefully remastered for vinyl by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley directly from the original master tapes. The vinyl comes housed in a neon green jacket featuring the original design from the “Rise” cassette by Mike Nelson. Each LP includes a photocopied clear acetate with unreleased photos and notes for each song. Prepare to get lost in the majestic, melancholic and melodic world of Altres..
Sound samples: https://www.darkentriesrecords.com/store/dark-entries/altres-archives-lp/
DE-034 THE PRODUCT – Alive Again LP
The Product were a duo from the small villages Kvistgaard and Espergaerde, in the north of Denmark. Dan Stielow Mortazavi wrote the lyrics and sang while Kenneth Neuhaus composed the music and played the instruments. They met in the Autumn of 1982 and recorded their sole album “Alive Again” over a weekend. It was self-released on cassette in 1983 and limited to 50 copies.
“Alive Again” features 11 songs recorded in two short live takes directly onto one cassette. The Product employed a basic set up of Micromoog, Roland JX-3P and TR-606 Drumatix. Nine of the songs employ only these two synthesizers and drum machine while two songs feature a guest bassist. With these three instruments they crafted melodic, icy electronic rhythms with detached vocals. They were influenced by UK post-punk bands Second Layer, This Heat, Wire, Gary Numan, Fad Gadget and most noticeably The Cure’s Pornography and Faith albums. Lyrics revolve around growing up in broken homes, alienation and romance.
Each song has been carefully remastered from the original cassette master for vinyl by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley. The vinyl comes housed in a jacket with original cassette cover art by Jesper Rask as well as an insert with lyrics and photos. This the first time since the original cassette issues that the music of The Product is appearing on vinyl format . “Alive Again” is a sneak peak into the world of Danish post punk bedroom cassettes..
Sound samples: https://www.darkentriesrecords.com/store/dark-entries/the-product-alive-again-lp/
DE-035 SMERSH – Cassette Pets 2LP
Dark Entries has dug deep in the New Jersey basement of Smersh to release the double LP compilation “Cassette Pets”. Smersh was the duo of Mike Mangino and Chris Shepard, who started writing music together in the late 1970s. They were uninterested in traditional notions of songwriting or live performance. Everything they needed was in Piscataway NJ: a basement full of musical toys and instruments, novelty space microphones, a TR-606 (the same “Roland” who was listed as a member of Big Black), a SH-09 (Cabaret Voltaire’s favorite synth), and — perhaps most importantly — a couple of tape recorders. Most Monday nights, they would write a new song from scratch. A couple hours later, the song was recorded, never to be performed again.
By 1981, this dedication to spontaneous creativity had already produced countless recordings, and the duo began releasing cassettes as Smersh via their own Atlas King label. A definitive Smersh discography may not even be possible, but one lists more than 30 Atlas King cassettes. As these tapes traded their way across continents, Smersh developed a devoted following in places far beyond Piscataway, leading to releases on dozens of other labels from around the globe. For “Cassette Pets” we have selected 17 songs, featuring some of the many highlights from Smersh’s vast discography, spanning 1981-1994.
Smersh’s sound is a lush hybrid of techno, industrial, dance, and experimental. Sometimes easy, sometime not. Most songs revolve around driving EBM style beats, intricate industrial noise manipulation and synth melodies. The Smersh sound has so many faces it doesn’t fall into any one category. Each song has been carefully remastered from the rapidly decaying cassette originals for vinyl by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley. The vinyl comes housed in a deluxe gatefold jacket with original drawings by Mike Mangino, lyrics and photos. This the first time since the original cassette issues that the music of Smersh is reappearing on vinyl format . “Cassette Pets” is a sneak peak into the subversive world of New Jersey’s isolated, prolific legends of the cassette underground
Sound samples: https://www.darkentriesrecords.com/store/dark-entries/smersh-cassette-pets-2xlp/
Our next three releases will be ready mid-January 2013:
DE-036 VARIOUS ARTISTS – The Thing From Crypt LP (UK post-punk/wave compilation from 1981)
DE-037 INFORMATICS Dance to a Dangerous Beat LP (Australian synth punks from 1981-84)
DE-038 FALL OF SAIGON Fall of Saigon EP (French postpunk/synthpop debut EP from 1982)
Thanks for your support!