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I've been checking out quite a bit of this awesome label's output and as an archival investigation it turns up much more treasure than chaff. This baby is a case in point covering disparate acts from as far-flung as Japan, Yugoslavia, Denmark, Belgium, the USA and erm...the UK! From Oscarova Fobija's playful, dramatic synth-pop to the darker, dystopian EBM-flecked analogue grooves of Danton's Voice, there is much melodically rich and rhythmically astute stuff to be had here. Japan's Sympathy Nervous almost pre-date dub techno on their 'Polaroid' tune. It certainly has more in common with the avant-garde such as Cabaret Voltaire or Tuxedomoon than any of the synth-pop brigade but it surges along with such a playful gait you can't help think of it in pop terms. Belgium's Pas De Deux provide a slightly ethereal slow-burner which could fit effortlessly into a modern Balearic or chill-wave set, rendered even more vibrant and exotic by the ladies' dreamy ponderous vocals. The Robert Lawrence and Mark Phillips tune (a favourite of Phil and I) is taken from a wicked looking cassette from the early '80s and is a stripped-back number built on dark ominous synth stabs and touches of a proto-industrial mood but it has this pooting, cheeky rhythm that is utterly infectious and loads of giddy samples to offset the dark undercurrent. I cannot believe how great some of these songs sound almost 30 years on. With a tune from the UK's Fast Set with its beautiful icy, searching synth line and the Reserve's cerebral Belgian Europop, this is a rather pricey but undeniably indispensable collection that offers a unique snapshot beneath some wilfully obscure (and awesome) unturned musical bricks.
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