UnknownmiX :: Chew Some More (Lux Rec.)

Lux Rec has never adhered to one style. Techno, house, soundtracks and of course gnarled EBM under the MRT wing. Once again the pick, trowel and brush are being employed, this time for 80s avant garde group UnknownmiX.

Lux Rec has never adhered to one style. Techno, house, soundtracks and of course gnarled EBM under the MRT wing. To date the both Swiss imprints have only ventured once into the realm of reissues, the firebrands of Tuning Circuits being the subject of audio archaeology. Once again the pick, trowel and brush are being employed, this time for 80s avant garde group UnknownmiX.

UnknownmiX came together organically in the early 80s. Lead singer Magda Vogel had plans for the silver screen but after meeting electronics technician Ernst Thoma at arts school in Zurich the pair founded the group. Their first three releases had Knut Remond on drums with Mani Neu Neumeier taking over from ´88. Strong visual statements accompanied the group with respected typographer Hans-Rudolf Lutz being an integral part of their sleeve design. UnknownmiX never had commercial success but they had success, touring Europe and developing a cult following.

“We were the first Multimedia Pop Band, and we included elements of improvisation and experimental music” Vogel told me through a laptop with a battery issue. “We created the band’s name UnknownmiX because every concert sounded differently. That means, we played with a pre-produced two tracks tape, which allowed us to improvise and change the songs from concert to concert.”

Their 12” for Lux brings together four tracks, a cross section of the band’s sound and it is definitely a varied sound. The slow machine percussion of “Chew The Gun” opens. Despite sitting around the 100 bpm mark, the track has a pace; one produced by drums clattering into one another. Vogel’s lyrics are shot through the piece. Her voice lilts and rises, ducking and diving amidst the rhythmic firing squad. What follows could be mistaken as an homage to Liaisons Dangereuses and their hit “Los Niños Del Parque.” Tight snares keep time with a simple and catchy bass line ensnaring Vogel’s lyrics for “The Siren.” The flip opens with the unsettling “Glitter.” Released in 1987 on their Mix 3 LP, spoken word is laid bare on a serrated bed of static and broken percussion. A broken monologue yelps, indecipherable language echoed into guttural screams. “Heavy Metal” closes. The track feels like it belongs to the final chase scene of The Terminator. Machines clank and clatter, notes attempting to pierce that suffocating weight of the factory floor.

Vogel is still making music with UnknownmiX not having gone unnoticed. “The next generation are interested in reissuing our music” but it was Lux Rec who “were the first to bring their project to a successful end.” Some will question this foray into the 80s avant garde scene, will wonder where UnknownmiX fit within the Lux Rec canon. The bosses see where the group fit: “An ode to those Zürich days, when excesses and uncompromising choices were a badge of honor. And music was something to fight for, or fight with, or dive in.” This 12” is undeniably uncompromising. Dive in, if you dare, and see where you end up.

Chew Some More is available on Lux Rec..

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