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Bourbonese Qualk

Bourbonese Qualk 1983-1987

Mannequin Records is proud to present a double LP and CD compilation of one of the most important Industrial bands active during the 80s in the UK.

Bourbonese Qualk were an experimental music group from England who where active from 1979 until 2003. Throughout this period they had a number of different line-ups but this album concentrates on the period from 1983 until 1987 with the trio of Simon Crab, Julian Gilbert and Steven Tanza. During this time the group released five albums: ‘Laughing Afternoon’, ‘Hope’, ‘The Spike’, ‘Preparing For Power’ and the self-titled ‘Bourbonese Qualk’ on their own Recloose Organisation and New International Records labels.

The group were always obsessively and uncompromisingly focussed on controlling their work - they ran their own record label, recording studio, tour organisation and music venue (the notorious ‘Ambulance Station’) - they refused to integrate into the commercial music racket turning down publishing deals from major labels - stubbornly opting for total independence.

The group are known for their political activism which was formed in the crucible of the 1980s Britain: The Miner’s Strike, Falklands/Malvinas war, Anti-fascism, Thatcherism, Moneterism, squatting/housing, local government corruption, anti-capitalism, and Anarchism - which was further re-enforced by touring Europe and meeting like-minded groups and organisations.

Bourbonese Qualk saw their music as a revolutionary cultural force - a belief that radical musical forms must be part of positive social change. Despite this position, the group avoided dogma, cliché and propaganda, preferring to let their audience come to their own conclusions - their work was often ambiguous and directly critical of cynical power-politics of any color - often irritating members of the traditional ‘organised left’.

In 1984 Bourbonese Qualk occupied a large empty building on the Old Kent Road in South London which they turned into a base for their activities and a co-operative for artists, musicians and writers as well as a centre for radical political activism - specifically as a co-ordinating centre for the ‘Stop The City’ anti-capitalist riots of 1984-1986. Most of the recordings on this album were recorded in their studio at the Ambulance Station.

The group never record in a ‘proper’ studio (not that they could ever afford to), choosing instead to work with their own extremely basic equipment (at a time when home studios were very unusual - the unique raw sound of these recordings is the result of their choice - which now, ironically, is in vodue due perhaps to the overwhelming obliquity of ‘clean’ audio digital production tools.

If Bourbonese Qualk have a legacy, it is that ‘culture’ should be reclaimed, re-defined and owned by the people, wherever they are, however small and not by the state or the market and that ‘culture’ is a vital vehicle for debate and radical change.

The fight goes on. (Simon Crab, London, 2014)

Flo & Andrew

Take Suicide

    One of the holy grail of the minimal synth and one of the most obscure musical projects ever produced in Italy is finally reissued on Mannequin Records.
    Originally released in 1981 by Broadbean Records, a sub-label of LM Records, Flo & Andrew only release ‘Take Suicide’ was home-recorded and home-mixed by the duo in Bologna, using early drum machines like the Boss Dr-55 and the Korg Kr-55, analog synthesizers, guitar, saxophone, tape loops. Flo & Andrew music is truly unique and exemplifies the fact that limitation can be the perfect source for creativity. The title-track and ’To Committ Suicide’ travel through contort and nervous synth sounds and loops, taking somehow inspiration from the No Wave heroes, while ‘Japanese Girls’ is nothing less than a beautiful minimal electronics track in the mythology of the futuristic rise of Japanese country.

    Recently (re)discovered, ‘Take Suicide’ is a milestone of the European minimal synth singles and is not really a coincidence that a young generations of producers take it as inspiration (you can see ‘Take Suicide’ floating in the tracklist of artists as Helena Hauff and NGLY). Another must have in your collection / record bag!

    Mastering by Ruud 66.

    Original graphic design by Surgelato.

    Various Artists

    Waves Of The Future

      The modern synthwave scene would be significantly poorer without the keen ear and tireless efforts of the Mannequin label run by Alessandro Adriani. Geographically situated within the nerve centers of Rome and Berlin, yet with a musical spirit that easily transcends these boundary lines, Mannequin’s back catalog has been an important component in the modular assemblage that makes up electronics-based independent music in the 21st century, and an important reference point for those who need to defend against the lazy accusations that this such is purely “retro” in its form and content. Recent accolades and accomplishments – being named Resident Advisor’s “label of the month” for May of this year, starting the ‘Death of the Machines’ 12” series, and being given the ‘green light’ for bi-monthly parties at the Säule room in Berghain – have been earned through Mannequin’s unflagging commitment to sonic diversity and Adriani’s own realization that the anxious and sharp-edged sounds associated with, say, the Cold War of the 1980s can convey a completely different message today. Adriani says it best when claiming that “there is no such thing as ‘old’ or ‘new’ music…only the music of now”. With this cogent statement of intent, Mannequin continues to go on exploratory missions to find the best and most relevant aspects of genres like acid, industrial, EBM, post-punk, coldwave and still more.

      Which brings us to Mannequin’s newest project and 100th release overall: the Waves of the Future double LP compilation, which itself is not a conventional retrospective collection. Case in point – none of the artists appearing on this collection have put out their own releases on Mannequin yet, despite acting as Mannequin’s unofficial ambassadors (via DJ sets and other means). This makes the set even more compelling rather than less so, since it shows how Mannequin fits into a larger picture that includes other scene leaders and label owners including Beau Wanzer, Willie Burns (WT Records), Silent Servant (Jealous God) and Ron Morelli (L.I.E.S.). Of equal importance is how Waves of the Future projects a sense of aesthetic resilience and continuity; showcasing just how well the current artists allied with Mannequin employ and re-interpret the sonic lexicon that appears on that label’s reissues of ‘classic’ acts such as Nocturnal Emissions, Bourbonese Qualk, Din A Testbild and Doris Norton.

      However, none of this would matter as much if the music itself didn’t have strong potential for lighting a blaze in the dark corners of the human imagination, and of course for forcing bodies into motion. Each track here pivots around a couple of key sound elements that seem to set the stage for the next track to come: see the sputtering / chopped ghost voices on Morelli’s “Charges Won’t Stick,” which easily informs the slicing drone and authoritarian beat of Shawn O’ Sullivan’s “Ill Fit,” which then lays down the emotional foundation for the sequencer-powered “With You” from An-I & Adriani or the glassy landscape of Illum Sphere’s “Exhaustion”. Elsewhere, the wired mischief of Not Waving intersects easily with the spherical electro-funk and coded commands of Beau Wanzer. When all the disparate parts of Waves of the Future are soldered together, it perfectly illustrates Mannequin’s non-linear philosophy and Adriani’s suggestion that Mannequin listeners directly engage with the music rather than trying too hard to analyze or dissect it.

      Conceived along the space of a few years and part of a big collection of unfinished experiments stored on cassette tapes, this eight tracks selection well represents Fred Ventura's late 80s and early 90s infatuation with Chicago House, Detroit Techno, early Warp records and even a secret passion for EBM. Using a basic set up made of Roland Juno 106, Roland JX-8p, Oberheim DX, Roland TR909 and an Akai sampler, these tracks were never officially mixed and meant to be released until today. Minimal and hypnotic, dry and direct, both sides of the record show an instinctive approach to rhythms and basslines, typical of those days where computer didn't have a predominant role in the creative process. 

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Patrick says: Although primarily known to the Italo crowd for a mid-eighties slew of Hi-NRG heaters, Fred continued to work his magic long after the mirror ball ceased to spin. Secretly slaving away in his home studio, Fred filled the time before his mid-noughties revival hammering the hardware in tribute to first wave Detroit, Chicago house and throbbing new beat. This raw and unreleased is primo tackle for all the house renegades out there.

      As the world goes to shit and the impending apocalypse draws ever nearer, the dancers and DJs head underground, swapping the frothy delights of the terrace for the grit and grime of the basement. Handy then, that Mannequin treat us to a killer LP from unsung Industrial heroes Nocturnal Emissions.
      Led by Nigel Ayers, the band was one of the first to use tape cutting, avant-garde art, and underground video works to create a stage experience that was being cultivated by like-minded artists like Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire. The band moved on to using samplers and electronic noise in their early 80's work, creating a twisted funk sound that would go on to influence everyone from Foetus to Negativland. They still utilized their former tricks, upping the ante with extremist performance art and more professional video displays. The group avoided signing to a major label, instead focusing on releasing their own music more effectively. They followed this path into the 90's when they started www.earthlydelights.co.uk, an incredibly detailed website that promotes their various ideologies (they are strongly against the British monarchy and believe that citizens should have unlimited access to space travel) and constant release schedule. The band has released countless tapes and CDs of their material, and continues to unleash their noise through their website.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Patrick says: Industrial anti-heroes Nocturnal Emissions land on Mannequin with a twenty track set of wobbly tape funk, squirming synthwave and cranky mechanics - hot and hissy folks.

      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. 

      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.


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