V/A :: Schadstoffklasse Grau… (Kernkrach)

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(June 2010) It seems like month on month some piece of minimal synth history or forgotten cold wave record is being reissued. Undeniably the revival, or resuscitation, of synth wave is in full swing. But, before Minimal Wave or any other contemporary front-runners there was Kernkrach. The imprint, with its growing lot of sublabels, was born in 2002 and ever since has pushed the boundaries of wave music. Kernkrach reissue the past and release the present, with groups like Guyer’s Connection lying alongside A.W.o.L. As Spring turns to Summer a new compilation from the German label is hitting your local decent record store on its sublabel Hertz-Schrittmacher with the memorably named Schadstoffklasse Grau – Unerhörte Klänge Aus Den Dunklen Kellern Der Republiken.

The LP showcases the variety of Kernkrach, moving across electro, synth pop and minimal synth. In a refreshing twist the compilation, bar a handful of Hertz-Schrittmacher 7″ artists, is full of first timers. The tracks shift from 80s analogue synthesizer compositions, minimal ambient chords and dark new wave movements. Synth pop rests alongside mock industrial with vintage undertones spiralling their way throughout. Artists, like LZ 129, Fabrik Ohne Strom and Les Miserables Minimalistiques make their mark amongst the array of synthesizer talent. Melancholy and despair sit happily together besdie elation and charm, with synthesizers and drum machines bridging the emotional gaps. Vocals and instrumentals are peppered across the vinyl platter, such as Friend in Plastic’s joyously analogue “A New Beginning” which has a familiar note of Skanfrom or A.D.S.R. to it. The compilation has the sound of Minimal Wave, Vinyl-on-Demand, Suction Records and more without losing any of its intensity or diluting its quality.

The compilation is emblematic of what Kernkrach is all about. Sourcing talent within their minimal synth remit. This talent might come from the past, it may come from the present; nonetheless it is talent. Kernkrach has unearthed some brand new talent on Schadstoffklasse Grau, artists that should definitely be dog-eared for future reference. For a veteran Kernkrach listener this album builds wonderfully on the label’s diverse back catalogue, for a newcomer to the German imprint it is a solid starting point for a new minimal synth love affair.

Schadstoffklasse Grau is out now on Kernkrach.

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