Enzo Kreft :: Dark Matter (Walhalla)

There’s a weird and wonderful quality to Dark Matter. It follows no line, in many respects Kreft was one of the progenitors of synth wave and he reached that point through experimentation and change. Tracks and ideas bound and leap, scrolling drone skips joyfully into self-deprecating poetry and beyond into congratulation.

It’s hard for an artist to shine these days. Then again, it’s tricky enough to remain in obscurity, especially if you released underground electronics in the 1980s. Even harder if you’re a Belgian artist.

Heard of Enzo Kreft? Nor had I until recently. He’s an artist to dabbles in a number of media, but more importantly he dabbled in DIY wave in the early eighties. Two tape releases came out on his own Zak label in ’83 and ’84, after that Mr Kreft dropped into obscurity. Until now that is. Walhalla have breathed renewed vinyl life into these thirty year old cassettes, bringing them to an audience who wasn’t even born back then (namely me) in the form of Dark Matter.

The A Side is occupied by the ’83 release, Me Is! No style is set. In fact genres are ignored. Instead a presence looms. The opening tracks of “The Dark” and “Circuitus Sanguinis” taunt somewhere between brooding ambient and dark experiment. And then the record changes. Vocals, distanced by effect and brimming with social commentary, take center stage. “Beauty Queen” is estranged and emotion filled, Kreft’s most recognizable work. “Erotic Fantaseesz” is cut from the same cloth, the focus being objectification and the blurring of lines. The flip, Cicatrice, is more politicized. Meaning “scar” this side is dedicated to the burgeoning computer age, mutual assured destruction and snubbing both. There’s a growing sense of confidence here too, synth lines growing brasher as the influences of new wave become apparent. Titles like “It’s Coming”and “Dead City” give an idea of the subject material. Yet within this black content there are bright moments. “Forbidden Games” remains in the shade, lyrics being stripped back in this juddering juggernaut. The close comes in the satirical synth pop of “It’s A Party”, good humored nuclear fallout.

There’s a weird and wonderful quality to Dark Matter. It follows no line, in many respects Kreft was one of the progenitors of synth wave and he reached that point through experimentation and change. Tracks and ideas bound and leap, scrolling drone skips joyfully into self-deprecating poetry and beyond into congratulation. Although the themes might not seem relevant in our age, the, at times, morose, at times, spritely sound certainly is.

Dark Matter is available on Walhalla.

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