Also from 1987, the legendary Nitzer Ebb’s Join in the Chant 12″ featuring a Phil Harding Remix, a Daniel Miller Remix, and an instrumental version of the title track. “church! church! church! gold! gold! gold! guns! guns! guns! fire! fire! fire!”
EBM… a former roommate introduced me to Nitzer Ebb, and I thank you explicitly, Tricia. This $3 necessity was had from a little hallway of a record shop across the street from Nick Nice’s shop in Madison, WI. This is the humble shop where I acquired my first Revolting Cocks record… where I snatched the Hot Snakes debut, the Lenny Soundtrack, the O Brother, Where Art Thou? Soundtrack, and Johnny Cash’s American IV… needless to say, $3 for Ebb’s debut, however mangled, was a bargain, given the circumstances. Covers be damned, until the time in which they be praised.
Israeli dark wavers Minimal Compact blend a compelling combination of Middle Eastern influences, a Westernized, early 80’s love for the sax, looming, almost destructive industrial loops and effects, propulsive bass, appropriate hints of what sounds like an antique squeezebox, and a flavor I can’t quite place that conjures up images of David Cronenberg’s Naked Lunch on this, Minimal Compact’s 1984 effort, Next One is Real. I’ve owned this EP for several years, it being a Wax Trax! Records release and all, but I’m now listening to it with what seems like virgin ears. I’m on my third, consecutive spin.
The snarling chants bellowing from the opener, Next One is Real, reminds me of a spry Douglas McCarthy from Nitzer Ebb and, although I’m an enormous fan of the Ebb, the progressive, rhythmic flow of Disc O’Dell’s remixed work on Next One is Real and Not Knowing eclipse even the greatest in Nitzer Ebb’s stunning catalogue. And just like that, Minimal Compact has swiftly become my newly acquired audio fixation.
Nitzer Ebb’s Lightning Man was one of three singles to emerge from their third album, 1990’s Showtime. Originating in Essex, Nitzer Ebb is pure, unadulterated EBM (electronic body music) also known as industrial dance. My sincere apology if you already knew that.
Released on merciless Mute Records (definitely a label with which to go back and explore if quality electro is your thing), this 2-track 12” is a good example of the band’s refined maturity that spanned the three short years since their debut album, That Total Age. Lightning Man, and especially the b-side, Who We Are harbor deep, imposing, and often deliberately sluggish layers of sexy EBM that, sans vocals, would work perfect as film score. As is, it makes for a fantastic, yet unfortunately short listen.