Stress / Borghesia / X Ray Pop :: 3view (Dark Entries)

Stress are emblematic of the New Wave sound and expertly deliver the anxiety and uncertainty of the 1980s through strings and synthesizers. Borghesia come from a similar position, but on the other side of the curtain. Experimental, insular, industrial and trailblazing. X Ray Pop are the most relaxed of the trio, arty and analogue. Three excellent records with even more on the horizon. Tireless work from Dark Entries.

The Summer may be over, but there’s always some happy record news around the corner. Dark Entries began the warmer months with a trio of releases and is ending the season in similar fashion. As the fog returns to the Bay Area Josh Cheon rolls up his sleeves and revives three albums.

Up first is the UK and early 80s synth wave outfit Stress. The group sum up the youthful anger of Thatcher’s Britain. Post punk is the sound’s core, but synths help balance some the more jagged anguish. Tracks such as “Rule of Force” are mellowed by analogue sounds complemented by human beats and emotion filled lyrics. “Tear it Down” uses electronics for the opposite effect, a track of burgeoning industrial energy and rage. The pieces have the sound and message of anti neo-liberalism, “Work Ethic” listing desirable commodities and what they have substituted in society. “Engrave the Name” is a slow piece of synth wave, melancholic, futile and totally estranged. Stress use different sounds from the 80s underground scene, but the angst and discontent of post punk is constant. The destructive, disintegrative and disengaged aspect of Stress is summed up in “I Go To Pieces”, a dissociated elegy and frustrated exhalation “The Prayer Clock” is pure New Wave. The track echoes The Human League in its sounds, content and quality. A forgotten gem of the genre resurrected. [Release page]

Dark Entries veterans Borghesia return after the successful reissue of Ljubav Je Hladnija Od Smrti. From Slovenia to San Francisco Borghesia’s Clones is resurrected. “Graffiti No.1” is a work of eclipsed darkwave whilst “No.2” is a work of proto-industrial tension. “Lustmorder” melts EBM and industrial sounds into a tough electronic sound. This mechanical aspect runs throughout the album such as in the minimalism of “Secret Affair No.1.” But not everything is metallic and hardened. Some pieces, such as “Lini De Sije” and “Secret Affair No.3” explore the softer side of Borghesia, both of which were decades ahead of their time. “Obnova” ends with stripped experimentalism. Hollowed beats served atop tortured strings. With Clones the Yugoslavian experimentalists toyed with the darker and lighter sounds of electronic music, testing the waters of the soulful and the sinister and laying the paving stones for several genres. [Release page]

A quick hop to France for X Ray Pop. The group have an extensive back catalogue but for The Dream Machine DE have gathered a selection of early releases. X Ray Pop’s sound is an innocent, fledgling synth pop. Analogue machines and early drum clips support drifting vocals. There’s a style to group, almost a fashion sense, in a la mode tracks like “Playgirl.” The Francophiles’ sound is not one of full bodied synths, instead their equipment is used with a lightness of touch. Synthesizers are employed as an accompaniment to the breathy vocals that permeate. “L’Euroseinne” and “Analphabelfe” have the sharpest dispositions of the record, rapid machine beats fired against partitions of synth and floating vocals. Male and female voice coils across the album, rising and falling in tracks such as “Bobby Bonbeck” and “Revers.” Chic wave. [Release page]

I’ve been listening to Dark Entries since the label’s inception and I’m always astounded at the quality that Cheon continues to uncover. Stress are emblematic of the New Wave sound and expertly deliver the anxiety and uncertainty of the 1980s through strings and synthesizers. Borghesia come from a similar position, but on the other side of the curtain. Experimental, insular, industrial and trailblazing. X-Ray Pop are the most relaxed of the trio, arty and analogue. Three excellent records with even more on the horizon. Tireless work from Dark Entries.

All three releases are available on Dark Entries.

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