Minimal Man was the San Francisco outfit of Patrick Miller, little remembered in official histories but still well worthy of your time today. The Shroud Of is their 1981 debut full-length, a cheap-and-nasty sounding slab of minimal industrial post-punk, delivered with a messy nihilism. So yeah, it's great. Reissued by Burka For Everybody in an edition of 300.
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- B.F.E.38 / Remastered LP on Burka For Everybody. Edition of 300 copies (Tuxedomoon dude!)
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- The Shroud Of by Minimal Man
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1981. Bucks Fizz had ‘made their mind up’ to win the Eurovision Song Contest. Adam and The Ants were standing in your dinner. Olivia Newton John was getting physical, again. The tiny Jamie -- your humble reviewer -- would scarcely have been aware of these things, naturally. So… where the very fuck did this come from? Minimal, industrial and angry, Patrick Miller’s post-punk outfit Minimal Man came tumbling out of San Francisco’s thriving experimental scene at the end of the ‘70s -- a hotbed of creativity that spawned Tuxedomoon. ‘The Shroud Of’ is his somewhat lost debut. The mood was... tense in those Cold War times.
Scuzzy and shouty, ‘Loneliness’ opens the record with cries existential angst and pain. “Ronald Reagan and I AGREE!” bellows Miller, repeatedly. You have to assume this through a mantel of irony; movie-star Ronnie had recently been inaugurated President of the USA, elected on a platform in opposition to any concessions of detente between the two superpowers. Feelings of dread, fear and paranoia come through strongly; loneliness is a sad place indeed.
The opening two tracks are unsettling highlights... wise sequencing. ‘Two People’ utilizes an array of noises -- overdriven and wildly distorted guitar, ominous dusty synth and squally, skronking horn -- against Miller’s howls of despair and frustration. It perfectly articulates fear, the breaking down of relationships and mortality in two minutes of uncomfortable yet exhilarating listening. If Miller is perched high and teetering on a ledge, he spends the remainder of the record morbidly fixing his gaze down into the abyss, through a haze of a cocktail of drugs. He left us this document though, so. Swings and roundabouts.
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