TOP : October 1992

Mute's Grey Area subsidiary carries on with its sterling work, reissuing gems from that golden age of electronic experimentation, the immediate post-punk period. This month they've chosen three albums from SPK, one of the most aggressively left-field acts of the period. The brainchild of Graeme Revell (now best known for his scores for films such as Dead Calm and The Hand That Rocks The Cradle, SPK were infamous for their live shows and it's no surprise that they came early under the patronage of Throbbing Grstle's Industrial Records label.
Their first LP's Information Overload Unit and Leichenschrei (from 1980 and 1982 respectively) are laden with confrontational sounds, texts and images. One can still appreciate what it was that the band were trying to do, but on these releases they only partially succeeded and the feeling one now gets is of people with a rather quaint obsession for menatl hospitals, images of ugliness and autopsies/grisly medical experiments. One thing that hasn't dated, however, is the music. these first two albums still contain plenty of raw, frightening noise, some of which still makes the hairs on the back of the neck stand on end.
Rather more satisfactory - conceptually and musically - is the excellent Zamia Lehmanni: Songs Of Byzantine Flowers a 1986 work which anticipates quite a few of today's musical trends and which much have constituted a shocking change in direction at the time. The first two albums are recommended to anyone with an affection for disturbing noise, but Zamia etc is unreservedly recommended to all those with a taste for austere beauty. 

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