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MARTIN REV

Martin Rev

The Sum Of Our Wounds - Cassette Recordings 1973-5

    The archetypal Martin Rev sound – a perennial influence on generations of musicians – is most prominently in evidence in the works of Suicide, the duo he played in across the decades with Alan Vega. However, the radical and distinctive nature of his music can be traced further back in time, originating in the base energy of rock’n’roll which the teenage Rev experienced as the ubiquitous soundtrack to his home city of New York.

    Rev initially explored free jazz and similarly free forms of musical expression before discovering the magnetic attraction of electronic production and instrumentation, enabling him to create music in a wholly independent and autonomous environment. Using the most rudimentary equipment, he grafted the roots of rock’n’roll into the process of combining effects and devices to generate electrified sounds, the likes of which had never been heard before. This music would map out the way forward not only for Suicide, but also for a fascinating solo career.

    Martin Rev’s predilection for experimentation knew no bounds. At home, he played around with rough ideas, trying out all manner of variations and colorations. These tape recordings provide a captivating insight into his modus operandi, often representing the early stages of what would later become Suicide tracks or cuts on Rev’s solo albums.

    Spanning the period 1973 to 1985, the recordings on "The Sum of Our Wounds" are much more than a collection of demos and outtakes. One has the sense of listening to a rounded album of familiar compositions, now portrayed in a completely new light. The brittle fragility of these cassette pieces reveals a deep-lying sensitivity, like a collection of wounds.

    Martin Rev himself remains as transfixed as ever by these recordings, as if he could immediately pick up where he left off and continue to expand on the ideas that came to him decades ago: »They often have a certain freshness or unpolished energy here... and (there is) always scope for new ideas, to be derived from them as a whole or even in small areas.«

    The cassette medium proves to be more than a means to an end – the tape recorder itself has a role to play as an instrument, the ideal basis for an artist who understands how to condense an idea into its fundamental elements: »The cassette sound, with its individual peculiarities, many even thought of in terms of inferior sound, can have an interesting dynamic. Maybe especially in certain minimal contexts when they are not being overloaded. Although they often seem to take on a lot of texture as well and with a warm response.«

    And so these snapshots can be seen as stages of a ceaseless evolution, one we are allowed to witness as we sit alongside Martin Rev at the tape deck, listening as he captures the sounds of the unquiet city. - Daniel Jahn, June 2023

    TRACK LISTING

    01. Yearning
    02. Dreams
    03. Skateboard
    04. Laredo
    05. Zeitpunkt
    06. Rio Grande
    07. Baby O Baby (Mix)
    08. Abracadabra
    09. Lineup
    10. El Barrio
    11. She's Back
    12. Temptation (Mix)
    13. Asia (Mix)
    14. Around The Corner
    15. Mari (Mix)
    16. Whisper (Vocal)

    Martin Rev

    Les Nymphes - 2022 Reissue

      Hazy dream chronicles.

      A Martin Rev album is always liable to spring a surprise. Think of the rough guitars which unexpectedly appeared on his 2003 release "To Live" instead of synthesizers.

      "Les Nymphes", which followed in 2008, saw Rev return to dream-laden melodic miniatures, but came from a resolutely more radical place than its predecessors. Once again, this work demonstrates the rigour of Martin Rev's approach, his willingness to embrace risk and his uncompromising rejection of a single aesthetic framework. "Les Nymphes" is, without question, the work of an artist who is constantly in search mode.

      Martin Rev

      To Live - 2022 Reissue

        American indie label File 13 Records released what was already Martin Rev's sixth solo album in the autumn of 2003. The previous year, Rev and his musical partner Alan Vega had struck out in a new direction on their "American Supreme" album and Rev's solo works continued in a similar vein. If "Strangeworld" from the year 2000 actually felt more like a timeless abstract of Martin Rev's entire spectrum of musical influences,

        "To Live", three years later, introduces more contemporary elements, including guitar samples for the first time. "To Live" is not easy to digest, a work of contradictions which marks a transition in Martin Rev's overall output as a child of its time, worthy of special attention in his legacy.

        Martin Rev

        See Me Ridin'

          Martin Rev's fourth solo album See Me Ridin' was released on the New York label Reachout International Records (ROIR) in 1996. Received by the critics with amazement, it proved to be a watershed moment in his career. Martin Rev's vocals are as minimal as they are sentimental, wonderfully poetic like a latter-day Chet Baker perhaps, or Jonathan Richman. This solo album not only blindsided Rev's critics and fans alike, but also painted a personal, nostalgic portrait of his home, New York; fading out the noise and contradictions of the city to channel the romantic energy of the metropolis. 

          Martin Rev

          Strangeworld

            Martin Rev's fifth solo album - Strangeworld - was released on the cusp of the new millennium. The label responsible was Puu, a Finnish imprint belonging to Tommi Grunlund and Mika Vainio's Sahko Recordings which came to fame in the 1990s on the strength of its uncompromising minimalist sound. Four years earlier, in 1996, Rev had unleashed See Me Ridin, an album which surprised its listeners with keyboard melody sketches and distilled doo-wop compositions. It was also the first solo album to feature Martin Rev on vocals. Strangeworld started where its predecessor left off. Melodic passages dissolved into a thicket of fragments and set pieces, coalescing in a celestial shimmer between rhythm loops and Rev's voice, which assumed the role of an additional instrument rather than a standard singing part. 

            Martin Rev

            Clouds Of Glory

              Martin Rev is best known as one half of the seminal duo Suicide (with Alan Vega). Listening to his solo albums, it becomes clear that Rev was responsible for the group’s music. Suicide mirrored the reductive and radical traits of the contemp- oraneous punk scene that was in the process of emerging, but their electronic, minimalist form of language was so unique, so innovative, that they would become a major influence on the likes of Daft Punk, Air and Aphex Twin. Alongside his work with Suicide, Martin Rev continued as a solo artist, releasing his eponymous debut album in 1980 on New York’s Infidelity label. Rev’s early solo excursions can be traced back to the original ideas which can be found – in modified form – in Suicide songs: as instrumental versions which have been texturally enriched, like a familiar figure which has nevertheless taken on a completely new existence.

              Clouds of Glory
              His second solo effort, was released on the French label New Rose in 1985, although the recordings on Clouds Of Glory actually dated back to the earlier part of the decade, following on from the Suicide sessions for the duo’s second album. Martin Rev remembers: “Clouds of Glory was produced from visual and musical sketches I had in mind which then coincidedwith an invitation by Marty Thau, previously Suicide’s manager, to take advantage of studio time he had accumulated from other projects. The essence of my ideas was then realized in the studio. Clouds was started in 1981 and completed in 1984 when additionalstudio time was made possible to complete it, based on the offer by New Rose Records.” In spite of Clouds Of Glory having been recorded with the sameequipment as the Alan Vega / Martin Rev Suicide album, it occupies a completely different space, evoking the solemnity of religious music through its underlying meditative tone. “I look now upon the album as part of a personal journey into the frontier of music; a process which is never ending in its revealing of possibilities to satisfy my musical aspirations.”

              TRACK LISTING

              1 Rocking Horse (5:45)
              2 Parade (6:45)
              3 Whisper (4:04)
              4 Rodeo (6:37)
              5 Metatron (6:25)
              6 Clouds Of Glory (6:22)

              Martin Rev

              Cheyenne

                Martin Rev is best known as one half of the seminal duo Suicide (with Alan Vega). Listening to his solo albums, it becomes clear that Rev was responsible for the group’s music. Suicide mirrored the reductive and radical traits of the contemp- oraneous punk scene that was in the process of emerging, but their electronic, minimalist form of language was so unique, so innovative, that they would become a major influence on the likes of Daft Punk, Air and Aphex Twin. Alongside his work with Suicide, Martin Rev continued as a solo artist, releasing his eponymous debut album in 1980 on New York’s Infidelity label. Rev’s early solo excursions can be traced back to the original ideas which can be found – in modified form – in Suicide songs: as instrumental versions which have been texturally enriched, like a familiar figure which has nevertheless taken on a completely new existence.

                Cheyenne
                Although it was not released until 1991, Martin Rev’s third solo album features a wealth of material from the year 1980. For “Cheyenne”, Rev created instrumental versions of many of the tracks which had formed the basis of the second Suicide LP entitled “Alan Vega / Martin Rev”. The sphere of Martin Rev’s influence and the relevance of his music may well be related to the fact that he was one of the first artists who succeeded in grasping the abstraction of electronic music, infusing it with a sense of immediacy built on raw energy. Whilst the likes of La Monte Young, Terry Riley, Steve Reich, Philip Glass and Kraftwerk were busy digging in the electronic music garden, Martin Rev found inspiration in the streets of New York. Rev’s music is informed by characteristic influences of the city, a place where doo-wop harmonies intermingle with the hiss and hum of the metropolis, dissolving into a collage of noise. So it is that dreamy, chiming melodies blur into ominous whirrs and drones emanating from rhythm machines and layers of distorted synthesizer. This polarity between convergence and alienation describes something deeply American, as reflected in the track names and the cover image of a rodeo rider: “The idea came from the way the tracks sounded as instrumentals. They took on a different visually descriptive dimension, even more so in combination. The visualization was an immediate sound- scape of the American landscape. That’s where the titles and cover came from.” Many of the pieces found on Cheyenne can be traced back to the sessions for the second Suicide album Alan Vega / Martin Rev (1980) which was produced by Ric Ocasek, singer for The Cars. Almost a decade passed before Martin Rev got around to editing and developing the material. “Most of the album was recorded in 1980, but the remaining few tracks from 1988 into the early 90’s. The 80’s tracks all went under a concerted editing process, to make them work for me even better as instrumentals. I didn’t get around to that until there was an offer to release them, which was in the early 90’s as well.” Indeed, Cheyenne plays out like a rural, yet intense road movie, crossing a landscape rich in beauty and contradictions.

                TRACK LISTING

                1 Wings Of The Wind (7:58)
                2 Red Sierra (6:36)
                3 Dakota (2:58)
                4 Cheyenne (3:09)
                5 River Of Tears (3:49)
                6 Buckeye (2:15)
                7 Little Rock (7:00)
                8 Prairie Star (2:27)
                9 Mustang (2:40)

                Demolition 9 is New York electronic music pioneer Martin Rev’s ninth solo album, and first new material since 2009. Comprised of 34 wildly divergent vignettes – only one of which reaches three minutes in length – he describes it as autobiographical “yearning for joy and the unattainable perfection of the artistic ideal.” The record spans a lifetime’s worth of moods and musings, encompassing fragments of Rev’s varied passions accrued across his nearly half-century long career. From violent percussion experiments to neo-classical reveries to noir-sleaze abstractions and beyond, Demolition 9 offers a radically non-linear spelunk through the dreams and distractions of one of the 20th century’s most influential sonic iconoclasts.

                TRACK LISTING

                1 Stickball
                2 Salve Dominus
                3 Deus
                4 Pace
                5 My Street
                6 T'Amo
                7 Into The Blue
                8 Requiem
                9 Now
                10 Blayboy
                11 In Our Name
                12 Never Mind
                13 Vision Of Mari
                14 Warning
                15 Salvame
                16 Dies Irae
                17 RBL
                18 Venitas
                19 Stretch
                20 Creation
                21 Toi
                22 Pièta
                23 It's Time
                24 Tacha's Toy
                25 Back To Philly
                26 Stelle
                27 Inside Out
                28 Beatus
                29 Tuba
                30 Rêve
                31 Concrete
                32 She
                33 Darling
                34 Excelsis


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