Monday, March 12, 2007

REVIEW: Wierd Records compilation

Misters Schoolwerth and Jeancarlo of Wierd Records did us a real service with this record, as compilations of this sort are an increasing rarity. Stretching the "cold-wave" theme to its absolute limit, they compiled a triple LP set (with what appears to be a bonus 7" on top of that tucked inside) packaged in a gatefold sleeve with an accompanying booklet of liner notes, lyrics, and over 500 pictures. The music on the discs covers about as much of the cold-wave spectrum as one could imagine exists, from sparse minimal electronic to trashy euro goth-disco to the Sisters-meets-the Cult assault of Blacklisted.

The standouts, along with Blacklist, include the likes of 2VM, the Swede Tobias Bernstrump, and Sleep Museum. However, one is almost struck by the idea that "standing out" isn't exactly the point. In listening to these 3 LPs all the way through, with the requisite flips of the disk(s), the bands do begin to take on an anonymity in spite of the number of micro-genres represented on this compilation. It's almost like listening to a bunch of dub singles or hardcore 7"s in a row; part of the beauty in listening to those styles of music is the attention paid to the genre itself with the almost puritanical concern for its form and style. For sure, some of the bands on here might never be heard of again, while I'm certain you'll be hearing more from others. What's all the more impressive is that most of these bands are from New York, constituting a bit of a "scene" surrounding the parties DJed by Schoolwerth and friends obsessively spinning every obscure bit cold-wave/ minimal/ post-punk slab of vinyl they can get their hands on.

In the days when the internet can immediately render transparent what any band from anywhere is doing (to which blogs like this one admittedly contribute, it is nice to see a product like this come along, notable not only in its meticulous praise of the obscure, but also in its veritable excess. (What was the last triple LP compilation you bought?) Some years ago, records like this one were catalysts for scenes; regardless of what happens with Wierd or any of these bands, this record might very well take on that importance as well. And in a cute bit of irony (not lost on the Wierd Records set, for sure), they've produced a record that will one day be as rare as some of the slabs they give lip service to at their parties.


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