REVIEWS

                            
WHO'S REALLY LISTENING?+

"Zillo Magazine"
Mark Lane "Who's Really Listening?+
12-song CD

    It is for sure that Mark Lane is one of the most underrated pioneers of electronic music. He had already started to experiment with his machines in the late 1970's. His Mini-LP "Who’s Really Listening?" from 1984 has now been rereleased by the new German label MetaWaveClassix. It has been digitally remastered, enriched with much bonus-material and is available on CD for the first time. The five songs of the original album still sound elevated and electronically minimalistic. Here and there "Sojourn" has been played by historically interested DJs. "The Poison for Me" and "The Lights of March", both from the original studio sessions for the album, fit perfectly in their quality. "Quest" and "Third Party" were originally on flexi-discs, which are now ultrarare, so one is very lucky to now be able to listen to these tracks in good sound quality. With further, as yet unreleased live-versions, among them "Sojourn" for a second time, but this time played together with Marc Verhaeghen and Dirk Ivens from The Klinik back in 1985, this ingenious rerelease comes to an end. For friends of old-school and minimal-electronic music [this CD is] a must-have! Thomas Thyssen/ www.zillo.de

"Yabbas World"
Mark Lane "Who's Really Listening?+"
12-song CD
October, 28, 2001
(CD of the month in September)

    Wow! The item, which the label MetaWaveClassix from Heidelberg has sent me, caused me to cry out in pure joy! ‘Who’s Really Listening?+" is a rerelease of the debut-album from minimal-electronic artist Mark Lane that had originally been released in 1984. In addition to the original material, the label was able to get seven, in this form as yet unreleased bonus tracks, which Mark perfectly apted to the quality of the debut. It is unbelievable how up-to-date this music sounds! Some synthie-groups should listen to this material, to finally get intelligent sounds as a goal. No stupid beats, no repetitions – only dream-like sound-art with varied vocals, which sometimes remind me of Ian Curtis. I danced through my rooms with "Sojourn" on repeat and "The Poison for Me" made me throw all my other electronic CDs in the garbage bin. A clear message: BUY! Sandy/ www.yabbas.de

"Synthetics Magazine"
Mark Lane "Who's Really Listening?+"
12-song CD
Graded: 89%

    The exclusive world-wide license went to MetaWaveClassix. Congratulations to this fantastic "game". Sythie-pop music from the most classic, and therefore most minimalistic kind has returned with Mark Lane. No fat Syn-scapes but rather fine electronic music is the core of his sound. Over fifteen years after the release of the original Mini-LP, the material still sounds fresh and innovative. Many elements of Mark’s music are still used in electronic and sythesizer-based music – others just have been rediscovered by modern electronic music groups. Besides the original five tracks from the album, the label has convinced Mark to add stunning seven bonus tracks. Among others, there are live-versions of "Exit" and "Ivory Towers", and with two as yet unreleased tracks, the album ends up with twelve titles. But here is the best bit: the first 2000 copies of this fantastic bonus-album have been numbered by hand and therefore are as limited as they can be – this poor guy who had to write all the numbers… This is just one of the features of the new label MetaWaveMusic – many others are going to follow and soon you are going to be very impressed, too! Micha L./ www.sythiepop.de

"E-Lectric"
Mark Lane "Who's Really Listening?+"
12-song CD
October, 2001.

    The label MetaWaveClassix dug out a real gem here: The mini album "Who’s Really Listening?" from sound artist Mark Lane that has been unavailable for many years. Here a little bit of history: Mark Lane has been making music since the late 1970's in the field of electronic music. After a few contributions to compilations, the above mentioned mini album was released in 1984. Besides that, Mark has collaborated with many well known musicians such as Conrad Schnitzler (ex- Tangerine Dream), Data Bank A, Vomito Negro, Attrition and The Klinik. Unfortunately, he never became really famous even though his music has always been very innovative and he has been considered an idol for many later synthesizer-based groups. Very minimalistic music coupled with a unique vocal style - many elements he used, still reoccur in today’s music. Despite the songs being 15 years old, they still sound fresh, even though, in places, they are typical for the New Wave music from the 1980's. Mark Lane’s singing sometimes reminds me of David Bowie, Marc Almond or Darrin Huss [from Psyche], the music bears resemblance to Gary Numan, Soft Cell or DAF. It is a unique document of time that surprisingly still sounds up to date. The label has been able to add tracks from Mark’s archive and doubled the playing time from the original album with seven (!) bonus tracks. Two songs are taken from the original studio sessions for the album and have been unreleased in this form till today. Two other tracks are from two different flexidiscs and date back to 1982 (!), the three others have been recorded live in 1985. This CD is a real must-have for the connoisseur, considering that the original recordings are impossible to get. An example that should have follow-ups - so many treasures from the last 20 years remain still undiscovered...www.e-lectric.de

"Prospective Music Magazine"
Mark Lane "Who's Really Listening?+"
12-song CD

    The world of re-releases will always have a market. At least when many of these obscure records are extremely expensive and very rare. Many of these releases can reach prices that are artificial. A record like this might have a very high price in minimalist circles. Mark Lane started all the way back in the late 1970´s constructing electronic music, but it was not until 1984 he released his first long-player - Who´s Really Listening?. The music has elements from the early days of synthpop from bands like Depeche Mode, Gary Numan and even Blaine Reininger (Tuxedomoon), but the minimalism shines thru all the way, stripped down to it´s very essentials. The sound is slow, and dark in a way too. The vocals remind me of early Bowie, but what impresses me is the complete overall sound of the album. There are three live tracks here as well and on "Sojourn" Mark Lane performs live with members from The Klinik. I warmly recommend this album to the younger people who like synthpop and want to explore the history of the scene deeper. This release can be seen as important as well as quite interesting. Atle Marcussen [7/10], Prospective Music Magazine, Box 5, 00271 Helsinki, Finland, www.prospective.nu

"Medienkonverter"
Mark Lane "Who's Really Listening?+"
12-song CD

    The 80s are hip again. Besides the smash hits from then, there are the pioneers of the electronic music from the 1980s that are especially worth digging out and exploring. Approximately at the time when The Cure and Depeche Mode took their first musical steps, Mark Lane began to work with his electronic sounds. The Reissue of his first Mini-LP “Who’s Really Listening?” from the year 1984 is now available at MetaWaveClassix. Besides the tracks from the Mini-LP, there are also two tracks from the “Who’s Really Listening?” studio sessions, two other rare tracks and furthermore three live songs, one of them together with The Klinik. No complex compositions or wide arrangements are on the album, but the limitation and reduction to the core of Electro-pop can radiate magic, even though this might be difficult to understand for non-minimalists. This reduction also brings with it some of the songs as art-products rather than catchy tunes and requires attention to be enjoyed. “Who’s Really Listening?+” is not difficult to listen to, though.Mark Lane’s slightly plaintive voice gives a bizarre touch to the music. Monotonous drum-beats with back ground noise and almost antique sounding synthesizers let you feel either heavenly or displaced. Those who don’t understand my description should listen to the three sound-samples on the MetaWave Classix homepage and build their own opinion. A simple description can’t tell the complete truth. Veit@medienkonverter, www.medienkonverter.de

"Shadowland"
Mark Lane Who's Really Listening?+
12-song CD
    Who remembers Mark Lane? Mark Lane was a quite active electro hero in the Mid-Eighties and was touring with bands such as Blancmange or Heaven 17. This CD is a collection of the best works of this hero of minimal electro - for the first time on CD. Apart of his sought-after Mini-LP, the CD contains 7 bonus-tracks: 2 tracks from the same recording session, 3 Live-Songs from 1985, one of them together with The Klinik, plus 2 early tracks from 1982. Cult! www.shadowland.no


"Re/Volt E-Zine"
Mark Lane "Who's Really Listening?+"
12-song CD
May 9, 2002

    This album, the first release on the German Metawave Classix label, originally dates from 1982-85 and contains the whole of the original Who`s Really Listening? album as well as unreleased and rare tracks from around that same period. Three live numbers from 1985 end the disc & feature Dirk Ivens, Marc Verhaegen & Eric Van Wontergem, who later became famous as The Klinik. As soon as "Tsar" gets into it's stride it's immediately apparent what era this music comes from with a sound somewhere between John Foxx's Metamatic and the works of Thomas Leer & Robert Rental while the offbeat lyrics bring the earlier works of the late Fad Gadget to mind. The dreamy sax that makes the running during the latter stages of the track works in the same way as it did on Ultravox's "Hiroshima Mon Amour" & is a dreamily melodic counterpoint to the minimalistic electronics. The John Foxx feel is especially evident on the 6 minute "Sojourn" (which is also presented later as a live version) &, by now,any old electro fans will be having serious pangs of deja vu! "Das Nicht (Factory)" is a slightly dancier number with harsher,German vocals so it could be seen as a forerunner of the European EBM schools while the darker "White Glove" sees Lane's vocals again leaning towards the more abstract. "The Poison For Me" & "The Lights Of March" are both out-takes from the album but actually sound slightly more accessable due to the stronger rhythms employed, although the vocals on the former track sound like a misguided attempt at a more melodic delivery. If this was the case it didn't really work although they don`t sound too terrible in the context of the album as a whole.The latter track fairs slightly better although it's apparent that Lane's vocals were never going to suit any poppy melodic material! Of the remaining tracks "Quest" dates from even earlier (1982 to be precise) & takes the anything goes ethic of the early electro days to further heights . Another track from the same year "3rd Party" again uses an analogue rhythm machine while the melody sounds not unlike Gary Numan. The remaining track are all live & date from 1985.They do sound a little rough around the edges as if they were taken from a bootleg tape (albeit a better than average one!) This subdivision of the Metawave label (there are a few others covering different genres) has been set-up especially to release obscure late 70s/early 80s electro so you retroheads will want to make this your first port of call. by Carl Jenkinson, www.revoltzine.com

Sonic Seducer
Mark Lane "Who's Really Listening?+
12-song CD

    Who was really listening back in the beginning/midst of the 1980s? I definitely not, and I was surely not the only one who, because of a tight net of omnipresent and taste-building Synthie-Wave perception overlooked Mark Lane who was then travelling around with early electronic musicians such as The Klinik, Attrition and Vomito Negro. What was the reason? All those, who were running like mad for the digitized Absolute Body Control tapes at the time of the long overdue The Klinik re-reception, should stay tuned. Here it continues: In the 1970s, already, Lane was building his own tools for the purpose of first cut-up experiments, until he bought a syntheziser ten years later and recorded “Who’s Really Listening?”, a much sought-after MLP, which contained material similar to what Dirk Ivens and Eric van Wonterghem produced at the same time. Not only Sven will be happy about the fact that one retro-minded specialist has compiled this enhanced CD version from the sought-after vinyl (the ‘+’ at the end of the title hints at almost the same amount of super rare give aways of unobtainable outtake-sessions, obscure compilations, sold-out flexi-singles and secretly recorded concerts). The song material is slightly colder and more played over all filters than the Belgian variant of this early electronic music. It alternately contains melancholic neon-lovesongs like “The Poison for Me”, sleazy material as “Sojourn”, and with “Das Nicht”, one of those German poem-experiments, which were valued highly back then. The monochrome, Antler/ Body Records-like artwork does the rest. 20 years ago is now. www.sonic-seducer.de

Electrowahn
Mark Lane "Who's Really Listening?+"
12-song CD

    Those who, like me, owned one or the other recording already in 1984 can be happy: not only Mr. Lucas polished up the good/bad Darth (with additional Bonus) and preserved him on silver discs but also Mr. Lane serves us here a compact disc instead of a cracking vinyl record. But this is not only re-heated, but prepared freshly. The twelve tracks with approx. 55 mins running time present Mark from his chocolade-side, and to stay at this metaphor, it is creamy chocolade – very plain and even after years of enjoyment it stays beautiful. Those who are not familiar with the name of the artist need only three songs to find out that this CD is meant for the friends of minimal electronic – those who prefer to smash their brains with 140 bpm will probably be happier somewhere else... On this CD there is a foundation of clear drum grooves (to specify: a Roland TR808 is used quite frequently) under melodies, which leave much space for the pretty high vocals – therefore this longplayer may suit perfectly the party after the party. A real catchy tune is “The Poison for Me” – that is something substantial! Sounds like whale singing, shallow melody, discreet vocals, a beautiful track. The Daft Punk like bass in “Das Nicht” shows that Mark Lane has not lost contact to the present through all his work – may I write that? Sure, because it is a compliment.“Who’s Really Listening?+”, not only hardcore fans, but also newcomers should be pleased about the diversion from the Boom T chack of other bands. So: I am Listening! Are you? electrowahn.de