Archive for the darkwave Category

Pitch Black – Suspiria/Renee 12”

Posted in 1990, Claude Raines, darkwave, ebm, New York, pitch black, synthpop, US on February 3, 2023 by Frankie Teardrop

Can’t stop/won’t stop!

Keeping with the theme of the last post, this single is a perfect compliment, featuring a series of dancefloor-friendly remixes of darkwave tracks, also released in 1990. Our friend Goutroy turned me on to this one some weeks ago, tipping me off that this NY-based trio consisted of three members of Red Violet Red, who, which you may recall, also shared a key member with Eleven Pond. The remaining members, bassist Jerry Dellapietra, guitarist Lyle Wells (RIP), and vocalist/synth player/programmer Cedric Herrera (who also formed this project after recording with Claude Raines) and recorded two killer darkwave songs that at their core, sound similar to their previous project, but run through a very dance culture filter. There’s quite a bit of acid/new beat influence, as well as nods to hip-hop, freestyle, and house music, but the vocals and songs themselves cut deep with dark energy that make this single a true hybrid success.

A quick note that there’s a hidden remix of “Suspiria” buried on the “Renee” side of the 12”, which is unlisted on the record itself. I’ve labeled it simply with the name of the track, but if anyone knows the title of this mix, feel free to leave a comment!

Otherwise, hope you enjoy!

Pitch Black – Suspiria/Renee 12”
1. Suspiria (College Radio Edit)
2. Suspiria (12″ Mix)
3. Suspiria (Hip Hop Remix)
4. Renee (College Radio Edit)
5. Renee (Acid Dance Remix)
6. Suspiria*
7. Renee (Stringapella)

*download it here*

Tanz Waffen – Big Strong Man 12”

Posted in 1990, austin, darkwave, synth, synthpop, tanz waffen, US, zyx on February 3, 2023 by Frankie Teardrop

Happy belated new year, folks! I’ve been struggling to find time to keep this thing going, but I still have a huge backlog of things I’ve been digitizing in my spare time, so it’s time I kick back into gear here, I suppose. Let’s see if I can get two posts done today!

The first: a big big synth pop single from 1990 on ZYX Records. The project: Tanz Waffen, which translates to Dance Weapons. Despite their German name, the band hailed from Austin, Texas, and consisted of Jeff Campbell of The Secret Six and vocalist Nanz Campbell. After releasing this one single, the duo would join forces with like-minded Austin EBM project Mark of Kane to form Voodoo Dali, who released one cassette in 1991.

As for this single, the clear dance floor filler here is “Big Strong Man,” which appears in extended and 7” form. However, the third track, “Memories of Voices,” is a moodier, more esoteric track that showcases Nanz Campbell’s vocals and features some darkwave guitar throughout. The A-side certainly has Celebrate the Nun-esque vibes, while the flip reminds me a bit of Six Sed Red or Soma Holiday. Either way, the single is an absolute banger, and as with most of the ZYX catalog, is worth picking up!

Tanz Waffen – Big Strong Man 12”
1. Big Strong Man (Wild Boys Remix)
2. Big Strong Man (Wild Boys 7” Remix)
3. Memories of Voices

*download it here*

Front and Fantasy – Treatment 12”

Posted in 1980s, 1985, Danish, darkwave, Martin Hall, minimal synth, new wave on July 25, 2022 by Frankie Teardrop

It’s been a minute since we’ve had a post here – sorry about that, folks. Been a rough few months here. It’s ALSO been a minute since we’ve had a true dark synth/wave classic featured on these pages, so with that in mind, let’s highlight this lone 12” by Front and Fantasy, a Danish duo featuring a pair of Martins: Martin Krogh and the ever-prolific Martin Hall. This 12” is the only release by the duo, dropping in 1985, the same year Hall himself released his first non-cassette solo recording, the equally excellent Relief. Martin Krogh was in a handful of goth/post-punk bands, many of which only had a handful of tracks, and sadly, he passed away in 1987.

For those uninitiated, Hall and his many collaborators certainly had a knack for creating some of the most arrestingly powerful darkwave records, many of which could have been heard on a weekly basis at NYC’s Wierd party (and elsewhere across the globe, I’m sure). Tracks like SS-Say’s “Care,” Ballet Mécanique’s “Lied,” and Under For’s “Free-Force Structure” were staples in my own personal DJ sets, and it’s easy to decree the A-side from this 12” in as an instant classic in the same vein, from the moment the stabbing synth bass lines take hold. I can almost taste the fog now, as those warm synth pads kick in, while Hall’s deep croon cuts through the pulsing electronics.

The B-side is an interestingly deconstructed mix of the track- focusing primarily on the isolated vocals and empty spaces, with a distant beat and the otherwise minimal guitar line driving the second half of the piece. It’s a curious addition, worth a listen or two. Come for the icy dance floor smash, stay for the more experimental dub mix.

Enjoy! More posts to come soon!

Front and Fantasy- Treatment 12”
1. Treatment
2. Re-Treat

*download it here*

Selena Moor- Medio Eva LP

Posted in 1980s, 1988, darkwave, ethereal, neoclassical, selena moor, still life on September 21, 2021 by Frankie Teardrop

A few posts back, I alluded to this stunning LP on Angel Records, the Italian label owned and operated by Fotoscura. This lone LP by Selena Moor was released in 1988 on the label, and is truly gorgeous in every which way. Despite the name on the sleeve, this is not a solo artist, but instead a four piece band that formed in the wake of Still Life, a more proper post-punk project with some crossover sounds. This LP continues in their footsteps, but adds a heavy ethereal atmosphere that should be perfect for those ready to slip into Autumn. Obvious touchstones here include Dead Can Dance, mid-period Cocteau Twins, but also Black Tape for a Blue Girl. While there are some very delicate passages on this LP, there’s also plenty of driving force throughout, just enough to keep things grounded.

After this LP, Giulia Lippolis went on to sing with Engel Der Vernichtung, who continue on unraveling the ethereal/darkwave/neoclassical threads here.

Without any further ado, the details:

Selena Moor- Medio Eva LP
1. Oasi Mandarina
2. Oniria Nel Quadro
3. Mahijora
4. Islanda
5. Orizzonte
6 Agueira #1
7. Aurore
8. Agueira #2

*download it here*

PS- for those hip to “the social media,” I’ve started an Instagram account for the blog, which you can find over here (systemsofromanceblog). Follow if you like, and see you soon enough!

Litfiba- Yassassin 12”

Posted in 1980s, 1984, darkwave, italian, italo, italo disco, post-punk, synth, synthpop on January 13, 2017 by Frankie Teardrop

Happy New Year, ladies and gents! Been trying to shake the dust off of 2016 to begin what will be the TENTH year for Systems of Romance. Having started this blog in summer of 2007, I never thought I’d be doing this as long as I have been, while many other blogs have come and gone and interests have waned. It’s true, there just isn’t *as much* undiscovered stuff left to reveal.

Even with that being the case, my interests still lie in collecting and restoring things that have been posted elsewhere in higher quality, and I’d like to start this year off with more of the same. I’m choosing this particular 12” in tribute to David Bowie as well, for this week marks both his birthday and deathday all in one, so what better homage? In this instance, Italian giants Litfiba tackle “Yassassin,” a high point from the last installment of David’s legendary Berlin trilogy. While the original, featured on 1979’s Lodger, is a moody, Middle Eastern flavored track with a reggae tinge, Litfiba take the track into the Italo-drenched stratosphere, translating the awkward rhythms into heavy kick blasts and synth stabs. It’s an inspired choice, one that helped bridge the gap between their earlier post-punk releases and embracing the big beat dance sound they would become famous for in their home country. Both versions of “Yassassin” (an extended dancefloor mix and a shorter radio mix) sandwich an original track, chock full of a similar middle eastern flair that sounds equally inspired by Lodger‘s wanderlust. In general, the band would adapt a very Mediterranean-informed vibe from here on out, all but tossing their UK influences out the door.

For more on Litfiba’s rich and storied history, feel free to brush up here. Otherwise, hope you all enjoy!

Litfiba- Yassassin 12”
1. Yassassin
2. Elettrica Danza
3. Yassassin (Radio Version)

*download it here*

Prince of the Blood- Contact High LP

Posted in 1980s, 1986, darkwave, german, poison dwarfs, prince of the blood on December 15, 2015 by Frankie Teardrop

I recently picked this one up on a whim, digging through cheap new wave/post-punk bins in NYC. Once in a while, something just jumps out. This is the second release by Prince of the Blood, released in 1986 On What’s So Funny About.., which boasts German pressings from Einsturzende Neubauten, Executive Slacks, 39 Clocks, Trash Groove Girls, Die Haut, Tommi Stumpff, and more. The band was a German four piece featuring two key members of Poison Dwarfs. Vocalist Ralf-Dieter Dlubatz sings here as well, a detached, cold monotone that suits the music perfectly. As for the sound, we have dry, EBM flavored drum machines pitted against synths and guitars here, for a sound that reminds me quite a bit of Bill Pritchard as well as the late, great Frank Tovey. I love this whole LP from front to back but I’m especially wild about “House of Cards” which really hits a sweet spot between post-punk, coldwave, and heavy-handed synthpop with female backing vocals…

As I mentioned above, this is the second of three releases from this band- if anyone has either the first 12” or second LP, I’d love to hear them!

Prince of the Blood- Contact High
1. Risin’
2. House of Cards
3. Golden Age
4. O.D.
5. Dead Barracks
6. Don’t Stay
7. Single Combat
8. Sunday Morning
9. The Station

*download it here*

Crashblack Big Orange- Crashblack Big Orange K7

Posted in 1980s, 1989, chicago, crashblack big orange, darkwave, goth, goth-rock, post-punk, US on April 15, 2015 by Frankie Teardrop

Today’s post is a supplement to Goutroy’s excellent post from 2012. His original post featured the lone full length LP from Chicago based husband and wife duo Crashblack Big Orange, which was a surprisingly excellent late 80s darkwave record in the vein of Intelligence Unit, Stimmen Der Stille, Xmal Deutschland, & Insulin Reaction. I’ve always thought these guys were kind of like a gothier version of X (or even a much less campy version of Rumania-era Nuns).

In his post, Goutroy mentioned that the band released three demo tapes prior to the LP, so this is one of the three missing pieces to the puzzle. This particular demo from 1989 is a single sided, self-titled affair, and features three tracks- two of which are exclusive to this release. The final song appears on the LP as well, and doesn’t seem to be too heavily altered, so it’s hard to tell if they just re-used this version or re-recorded it in exactly the same manner. The two exclusive tracks are exactly what you’d expect if you’re already a fan of the LP. The uninitiated can expect plenty of trashy, distorted deathrock-style guitars, high energy drum patterns, a mix of excellent male and female vox, and plenty of menacing hooks to go around.

crashblack

Crashblack Big Orange- Crashblack Big Orange K7
1. Voices
2. Nerves
3. Strange Sky

*download it here*

If anyone has a copies of the remaining two demos, feel free to drop a comment or an email! Would love to hear them!

Crux Ansata- I Feel the Atmosphere 12”

Posted in 1980s, 1990, crux ansata, darkwave, endraum, german, goth, goth-rock, neutral project, post-punk on May 22, 2014 by Frankie Teardrop

Happy world goth day, everyone!  Figured I’d chime in and celebrate with an updated version of one of my favorite darkwave/goth classics, the lone 12” from Germany’s Crux Ansata.  You may have seen this one on Dreams and Voices in the past, but here’s a fresh rip I made of the record early last year.  The opening epic, “Remembrances” is one of my favorite cold, gloomy tracks, perfect for this rainy, foggy day in NYC and beyond.

This record was released in 1989, and while it’s their only release, both members were active in other bands.  Both Hovi Miskovics and Roman Rütten continued in Endraum after this 12”, and also released one song as A Foamy Project In Neutral Days, a supergroup of sorts with Neutral Project.  You can find the one track they recorded together on the infamous Supercherie compilation from 1991.

Crux Ansata- I Feel the Atmosphere 12”
1. Remembrance
2. No Time For Lies
3. Imprinted In My Mind
4. This Night of Memories*download it here*

Stay tuned over the next few weeks for some more dancefloor-ready 12”s, some unheard discoveries, even more new and improved rips of old classics, and one of these days, a new VA comp. coming down the pipeline!

Quite Simple- Victims 7” & Unknown Stranger LP

Posted in 1980s, 1987, 1989, darkwave, Dutch, goth, goth-rock, post-punk on November 18, 2013 by Frankie Teardrop

I have two posts today, both request from friends so I thought I’d drop both on you in one day.  This first post fulfills a request by Xerfrank for the official discography of post-punk/goth band Quite Simple, from Holland.  I’ve seen these two records go for moderate prices over the years, so they certainly warrant some more attention for those unaware of the band.

Fans of hook-driven Leeds bands such as March Violets and the Lorries should love this one, straight down to the male/female vocal dynamics and big, shameless production.   For a private pressing, the production on the LP is especially impressive, and sometimes it sounds like the LP is only a major label away from being Floodland II.

Unknown Stranger was released in 1989, while the 7” (which I prefer by a small margin) was released in 1987.  There’s also another track released on the Made In Brabant compilation in 1987, and since that collection pre-dates the LP as well, I’m assuming the recording of “Visions” from the compilation is different than what would appear two years later.  If anyone has this compilation, feel free to drop a line!   Otherwise, enjoy!

Quite Simple- Victims 7” (1987)
1. Victims
2. Light In the Dark



Quite Simple- Unknown Stranger LP (1989)
1. Unknown Stranger
2. Mistery of the Night
3. Visions
4. Age of Miracles
5. China Town
6. Curious Eyes
7. Nightmare
8. Out of the Spirit World

*download both here*

The Chyldren- Mortis Hora

Posted in 1980s, 1987, darkwave, synth, synthpop, the chyldren, uk on October 29, 2013 by Frankie Teardrop

Now that blog culture has come full circle, there are very few “holy grails” left to uncover.  However, this LP has achieved near mythic status to me over the years after hearing a loose track ages ago.  I don’t even remember how I came across the track, and having it tagged improperly didn’t help much, as it took me some time to figure out that the band name was The Chyldren and not The Children.  Either way, I was always curious to hear the rest of it, and here we have it, another donation that comes courtesy of xerfrank.  Thanks again!

All talk aside, this record, like VHF and Eleven Pond before it, deserves it’s mythic status, less so based on the quality of the recording but moreso because it was never *officially* released.  Sure, there are copies of it out there, especially if you’ve got $700 to spare, but good luck finding this one in your local record store.  The story behind it is simple: band makes record, record goes to print in 1987, record does not make it past the test pressing phase.  It should be self explanatory, but in case you’re not a vinyl collector or of a younger generation, test pressings are simply copies of an album used to gauge the quality of a pressing, as anomalies, variables, and errors can be rather commonplace.  Now in my experience, there’s usually only four or five test pressings of a given record, mostly for individual band members or label personnel.  With that in mind, I’m not sure how 8 people (or more, since discogs records are never 100% accurate) came across a test pressing, but I suppose it could be possible that they pressed more of these than usual to be sold at shows or given away to friends.  Either that, or some people on discogs are theoretical collectors.  All copies of this album come complete with a (rather goofy) cover/sleeve that looks professional, but the inner label is handwritten, as shown here in photos.

Now, let’s talk a bit about the music.  You might expect this record to be a complete novelty, judging from the goofy cover, terrible font choices, and religious themed psuedonyms used by the three band members (my personal favorite is Lucifer the Cross, though your mileage may vary).  Well, it’s not.   The album is a rather good, if but a little one-dimensional synth-driven record that utlizes the same bombastic drum machine pattern and vocal melody on almost every track.  So, while the band certianly doesn’t take themselves too seriously, even on the compositional side of things, there are some nice gems to be found here, even if they all sound pretty interchangeable with each other.  The good news is that the album is rather short- 7 tracks in 25 minutes, so as long as you like the vibe, it doesn’t overstay its welcome.

You know, it’s funny that I mentioned both VHF and Eleven Pond up there, as this album almost comes across like a hybrid of both records, combining the synth-heavy, toe-tapping catchiness of VHF with the darkwave/Factory records vibes of Eleven Pond.  The religious themes also remind me heavily of Eyes of God, but in all honesty, this LP sounds like a long lost, fully synth-driven cousin of Sanity Plexus, but I digress.  Check this one out for yourself.

The Chyldren- Mortis Hora LP
1. Private Crucifixion
2. Sin
3. Chase Me
4. Speed
5. Burn
6. Fade Away
7. You
8. Dope

*download it here*