Japan’s Calax Records debut with reissue of a rare batch of breezy and brilliant cuts by Industrial and new beat originals, Siegmar Fricke, and Dirk Desaever aka A Thunder Orchestra, White House White, Danton’s Voice +++

Both artists were heavily active in the late ‘80s tape and industrial electronic scenes, with Dirk Desaever recording some of Belgian new beat/EBM’s finest moments, and Fricke developing a catalogue of 100s of release up to the modern day, including 2019’s turn as Pharmakustik for V I S. This set captures a snapshot of the pair sharing a tape and vibe in 1990, charting an early phase of their respective creative oeuvres when they both worked between a flux of inspirations from ambient to synth-pop and proto-techno, thru to experimental integers of EBM and new beat.

We’re particularly drawn to the ATO cuts, which hark to the archival Dirk Desaever material that surfaced on Musique Pour La Danse’s two compilations in 2019. They feel as though mailed in from a greyscale parallel dimension of the very late ‘80s, possessed by a brooding gothic Belgian spirit that filters thru from the eerie dance tension of ‘Birch’ to the cinematic strings of ‘Coming Closer’, and impish works like ‘Reaching out for that brandnew little nothing’ that split that difference between Coil and John T. Gast, and the face-numbing coke psychosis of ‘Columbarium’, plus the unmissable goth ballad ’She lives in a dream Movie Theme II.’ Factor in Fricke’s side of eight more playful electro-dub and heady acid house freaks such as ‘This Is John’, and its exclusive ’91 remix, or the scudding, proto-ambient-techno of ‘In Good Shape’, and you’re onto a proper winner.