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Giovanotti Mondani Meccanici

GMM Suite

Mannequin Records is elated to present for the first time on vinyl the reissue of Giovanotti Mondani Meccanici’s first video soundtrack, originally released in 1984 as an audiotape in less than one hundred copies. Giovanotti Mondani Meccanici (literally Mundane Mechanical Youth) or GMM was one of the most unclassifiable audiovisual experiences to emerge from Italy in the 1980s. Maurizio Dami a.k.a. Alexander Robotnick, a pivotal member of GMM, was responsible for the group’s music output.

Founded in 1984 by Antonio Glessi and Andrea Zingoni in Florence, GMM was an art collective whose production represents the quintessential expression of postmodern transmedia hybridity. GMM pioneered the genre of computer comics, created video installations, developed “multiple identity” performances, and was involved in fashion, media, and music productions, and later on produced cyberdelic environments, artificial reality projects, and proto-memes.

Alexander Robotnick’s first contribution to GMM was this soundtrack for the group’s eponymous first video, the animated version of a computer comics they coincidentally published on legendary Frigidaire magazine. Restored by Dami and reissued here for the first time by Mannequin Records, the composition was also split into two “suites” and released as an audiotape distributed by Materiali Sonori, also responsible for other releases by both Robotnick and GMM. Determining in this work is Dami’s adoption of the alphaSyntauri, also known as the first affordable digital synth (priced less than $2000 when it was released in 1980), which was playable through its own software, “alphaPlus,” on the Apple II computer. The same computer was used by Glessi to “draw” the 3-bit strips scripted by Zingoni recounting the joyrides of the Giovanotti Mondani Meccanici, three merciless cyborgs in black suit and sunglasses dividing their time between nightclubs, rapes and murders.

As Robotnick, Dami developed an innovative formula of Italo disco that was attractive to the dance floor yet at the same time highlighted the expressive properties of the instruments he used, notably Roland drum machines and Korg synthesizers. For the soundtrack of GMM’s videos and installations, he left aside the danceable synth rhythmics in favor of ambient sounds that produced rarefied atmospheres, psychological tensions, and enhanced states of consciousness.

Dami’s scores for GMM’s artworks could be associated with Italian avant-garde music of the 1970s and 1980s, ranging from composers who adopted electronics flirting with pop and songwriting to minimalist musicians exploring seriality and drones, including Franco Battiato, Roberto Cacciapaglia, Francesco Messina, and Riccardo Sinigaglia. Analogies could also be traced with the playful and humanizing approach to personal computers that characterizes the music output of Marcello Giombini and Doris Norton. The futuristic escapism of minimal synth and ambient music’s psychological nature is infiltrated by drifting harmonics typical of new age, as if in search of a spiritual dimension of technology. Characteristic of the postmodern ethos of GMM Suite, in line with the humanizing approach to technology that is at the base of GMM’s computer comics, is the melancholic take at speculative dystopias in which human beings would find themselves increasingly trapped into identity crises: a true cyborg’s melodrama.

TRACK LISTING

GMM Suite 1
GMM Suite 2

Greek artist June makes his debut on Mannequin Records with the 'Silver Demon' LP. The album explores a futuristic dystopian world where transcendence and oppression coexist, where claustrophobia and infinite openness coincide. A world of contrasts that is the product of the artist‘s active imagination and conscious effort to confront the subconscious.

The album was recorded using original techniques from the golden era of electronic music (late 70s to mid 80s) with an arsenal of vintage analog synthesizers, drum machines and effect processors (originating) from the same time period. While the aesthetics of the classic precursors emerge through the minimal, deep, dark architecture of June's music, Silver Demon prevails with the artist's characteristic originality.

TRACK LISTING

1. The Passenger
2. Exit Strategy
3. Citadel (interlude 3)
4. Vortex 21
5. Odyssey
6. The Onmipresent Eye
7. First Age
8. Dialogues (interlude 1)
9. Behind The Walls
10. Silver Demon

Mutant industrial acid house from one member of the UK Mutoid Waste Company art and performers collective. The Mutate tracks where created in 1990 when Steffe Lewry, vocalist composer and producer from the UK, active since the mid 1970 (Gong, Planet Gong, Here & Now), was living with members of the Mutoid Waste Company - the legendary performance arts group founded in West London in the early 80s.

Influenced by the movie Mad Max and the popular Judge Dredd comics, they specialised in organising illegal parties in London throughout the 1980s, driven at first by eclectic assortments of fringe music such as psychedelic rock and dub reggae, but then embracing the burgeoning acid house music movement by the late 1980s. They were famously described as "part street theatre, part art show and part traveling circus" in the 1986 LWT documentary South of Watford presented by Hugh Laurie.
The group became famous for building giant welded sculptures from waste materials and for customising broken down cars, as well as making large scale murals in the disused buildings where they held their parties. 
In 1989, after a number of police raids on their warehouse in King's Cross, they left the country and travelled to Germany where they became notorious for building giant sculptures out of old machinery and car parts, one of which was 'Käferman', a giant human figure with a Volkswagen Beetle for its chest, offering a Bird Of Peace sculpture that overlooked the Berlin Wall towards East Berlin and the regime of East Germany. They had a collection of scrap military vehicles, including a Russian MiG 21 fighter aircraft which 'followed' them around wherever they went, and a painted tank known as "the Pink Panzer".
The 3 tracks where included in a video compilation of Mutoid art, “How The Mutoids Brought Down The Berlin Wall”, edited by film maker Jonathan Barnett. To make these tracks Steffe used a 4 track teac reel to reel, a Korg DDD1 drum machine and Fender stratocaster guitar.

TRACK LISTING

1. Mutate (Part One)
2. Mutate (Part Two)
3. Mutate (Part Three)

Nacht Raum / Bande Berne Crematorie

Expanded 1982-1984

Continuing their rich vein of form, Mannequin Records present a LP compilation of Michael Antener (Swamp Terrorist) early 80's minimal synth/industrial projects Nacht'raum (with Michael Stämpfli) and, as solo, Bande Berne Crematoire.
Heavily influenced by the works of SPK and Nocturnal Emissions, Michael Antener made his first recordings in the basement of his parents house in a small village nearby Bern, Utzensdorf. He started BBC in 1980, a hybrid of Neue Deutsch Welle and noise/experimental, making a household name in the international home recording scene of the time and participating to many tape compilations.
Teaming up with Michael Stämpfli as Nacht’raum, he self-released the untitled mini-lp in 1983. Coming out from the same town of Grauzone, the duo moved into the darkest minimal electronic sounds, choosing German as main language for the lyrics and a Roland Tr-808 as main drum machine, bringing the sound to a proto-electro dimension. Nacth’raum will be historically a real gem in the 80's Swiss underground electronic music, together with Mittageisen, Grauzone, Liliput, The Vyllies.
Michael, by the way, later teamed up with Ane Hebeisen and they went by the name of Swamp Terrorists, releasing seven albums and touring throughout the world until the end of the nineties. At the end of the nineties he sold all his instruments and became independent as a graphic artist. 

TRACK LISTING

1. Viva Espana
2. Tiere Schreit
3. Kranzo Roses
4. Rosa Bernet
5. Sahel Passe
6. Ich Muss
7. Maria Tanz - Maria Flieg
8. Consume
9. Menschwirtschaft
10. Ende
11. Plastiktraume
12. Nachstes Jahr 

Atelier du Mal were formed in Florence in 1983 by Lapo Pistelli (synths, electronic drums), Iacopo Ficai Veltroni (bass, synth) and Ignazio Matteini
(drum programming, percussions). Recorded in 1984, "Noblesse Oblige" was the first and subsequently the only demo tape by the group, self-released using classic gear like Korg MS-20, Roland Tr-606, Roland Tr-808, Roland Juno 60, Roland TB-303. The ten tracks on offer fuse the melancholy vocal melodies, snapping drum machines and propulsive sequences of the early Human League with angular post punk guitars, gloomy basslines and a touch of cinematic new wave. A forgotten gem from Italy's electronic past, returned to the shelves thanks to the mighty Mannequin.

TRACK LISTING

1. A Promise
2. Back To Taiwan
3. Another Kind Of Madness
4. Waiting For Someone
5. Staticita
6. Palau
7. Marienbad
8. Decadence
9. Palau 2
10. Someone's Calling 


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