Sounds : 23 July 1983


ALTERNATIVE CHEMISTRY

VARIOUS ARTISTS
'Alchemy'
(A Twin Vision Video, £18)****

IF EVER such a thing as a pirate television should arrive in the safe and predictable world of Frank Bough, Kelly Monteith, Esther Rantzen, Richard Stilgoe et al this, I would hope, could act as some kind of guideline.
'Alchemy' is an hour long collection of snippets from groups, artists and down to earth sub-humans who roam the streets in their respective cities living on a sub-structure beneath the expected norm? There are no rules and regulations here, merely the attitude which prevailed during embryonic punk. Anybody can pick up anything - in this case a video camera - and produce some kind of valid alternative.
That's not to say that 'Alchemy' is in any way sub-standard, it's just that the techniques used are nowhere near the slightly predictable world of three minute pop videos that record companies seem to spend all their dinner money on.
There are 14 pieces included which vary in stature and presentation but, even in their diversity, they maintain an overall personna for the product.
From the outset of Portion Control's 'Chew You To Bits' there's a heartening feeling of power, like a rush of adrenalin, which is clarified with SPK's anarchic live performance. SPK create a world of gothic percussion cut in with hooded figures reminiscent of the dwarf murderer in Don't Look Now.
[...]

DAVE HENDERSON

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