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REVIEWS

                            
THE ANTI-TECH TESTAMENT 1981-1985


"Heathen Harvest"
Mark Lane "The Anti-Tech Testament 1981-1985"
24-song 2xCD
Editions Mark Lane
February 1, 2007

    Suicide were the main pioneers of the whole minimal electro scene. Their catchy drum machine beats and simple synth lines, coupled with a vocalist who was cool as fuck, made them an overnight cult success. Others inevitably followed in their hallowed footsteps. Acclaim followed some. Abject failure was on the cards for others. The history of music has missed out on so many acts who deserved at least a footnote to their contributions to the advancement of electronic music. Maybe one day a proper book will be written and these artists will once more be under the spotlight for their recordings that helped shaped the electronic music scene. I wouldn’t hold my breath though if I was you. You’ll be a long time dead before this tome of wisdom ever reaches the book shelves. Thank the stars above then for the Internet and cost effective technology in cd manufacturing. At long last one of the hidden stars of the whole minimal electro & Synth Pop / Electronic genres is available for you to discover once more. Mark Lane isn’t a well recognised name. He has sadly been overlooked for far too long but now you have the chance to re-discover what all the fuss was about when he burst onto the musical map way back in 1981. I have fond memories of that time. It was one of the golden ages of music. Music was cascading off in so many different directions that it was near impossible to keep up with the trends that were developing. I was…I’m counting back here…23 going on 24 years old back then. Give or take a few months. I had bathed in the glory of Punk and Industrial and all those new acts who were going for a melody inspired electronic off shoot. Sadly I somehow missed out on Mr Lane at the time of his debut release. The years past…and although I kept up with everything going on in the music genres Mr Lane’s output still eluded me. Funny how these things happen or pan out. ‘The Anti-Tech Testament 1981 - 1985’ rectifies this situation. Collected in a double cd, with 24 tracks, his importance to music and iconic status is now assured. The early tracks features the stripped down, bare basics, electronics that sound like a crossover between Suicide and our own sadly departed Fad Gadget. With further echo’s of early electronic pioneers Cabaret Voltaire, The Human League and Daniel Miller aka The Normal. I should hasten to add that I’m talking about these groups very earliest work and not the over produced product of the later years. Mr Lane, on these early tracks, reveals a fine line in melody and a vocal delivery that is happy to be plain and be over elaborate at the same time when the needs arises. Stark and, by nature, simple analogue tunes are given his worldview through his lyrics. He even throws in a bit of guitar the cheeky bugger. By the end of the first Disc and continued on through the second disc he has built upon his sound and added a depth and sheen that is on par with the other Synth Pop acts of the mid eighties. Given the right promotion there are songs on here that would have made any top 10 chart of the times. When you remember some of the appalling act who managed this feat it only goes to show that there is no real justice in the musical world. Compared to some of the more challenging and difficult releases that get sent into Heathen Harvest for review ‘The Anti-Tech Testament 1981 - 1985’ is pure froth. But froth of the best kind. It harks back to a time of experimental spiritual releases where the boundaries were being continually pushed and pulled within a primitive instrument based constraint. As such it acts as a document of the times and is an invaluable release for those interested in the beginnings of the electronic music genre. A musical missing link that demands a re-assessment. If you seek further proof of his pedigree Mark has worked with some of the greatest names in music. These include: Conrad Schnitzler founding member of Tangerine Dream and Cluster, Guy Van Meighem Vomito Negro and Blok 57, Andy Szava-Kovats of Data-Bank-A, Richard Van Dellen of De Fabriek, Peter van Fliet of Mechanic Kommando, Sandy Nys of Hybryds, Martin Bowes of Attrition, Chez Voz of Afterimage, Dirk Ivens, Eric van Wonterghem, and Marc Verhaeghem of the Klinik and Dive…to name but a few. Take a trip down memory lane and learn how artists like Mark Lane re-shaped the future of music through their early releases. This is an excellent and essential blast from the past recording and one where the artist will finally get the respect of his peers that he is sadly long overdue. Alan Milne


"Felinea"
Mark Lane "The Anti-Tech Testament 1981-1985"
24-song 2xCD
Editions Mark Lane
January 25, 2007

    Mark Lane, musicien américain ayant souvent collaboré avec des formations à l''origine diverse, nous gratifie ici d'un testament sonore, expression d'une volonté de renaître. Couvrant la période allant de 1981 à 1985, cette compilation englobe sur 2 CD la facette minimaliste du son électro concocté avec passion : 'I want you' en est d'ailleurs l'exemple parfait. Le premier volume s'éveillant de façon organique satisfera les nostalgiques des sonorités synthétiques du début des eighties à peine dévoyées par l'expérimental 'Pleasure heist'. 'Das Nicht', quant à lui, insufflera au rythme un soupçon de bonhomie. Mark Lane sait rendre élastique sa musique comme sur 'The lights of March', composition hypnotique subtilement caressée par le chant dépourvu d'effets. 'Tsar' semble plus vénéneux, renferme la substance de la malignité. Electro provocatrice nuançant la saturation et la froideur ('Il pluet à Bruxelles'), axant l'orchestration via le sens mélodique comme sur le titre d'ouverture du deuxième volume ('The poison for me'). Bien entendu, l'écho provient des années 80 et doit être remis dans son contexte mais '3rd party' porte en lui une originalité, presque une sensualité accueillante. 'Sojourn' fait osciller la tonalité singulière et dévoile les contours d'un morceau tel que 'Who's really listening ?'. Mark Lane s'extériorise avec l'indispensable 'White glove' riche d'une spontanéité qui n'a pas pris une seule ride. [ The anti-tech testament ] s'appuie sur le passé pour définir une nouvelle inspiration et présente l'intérêt d'apparaître comme un véritable guide de l'univers de ce manipulateur de textures musicales. Qui peut encore prétendre que les eighties n'ont pas marqué les esprits? David D'Halleine


"Dark Entries"
Mark Lane "The Anti-Tech Testament 1981-1985"
24-song 2xCD
Editions Mark Lane
January 16, 2007

    Minimale elektronica is in, dus is het tijd voor een overzichtje digitale Mark Lane. Deze brave Amerikaan is reeds sedert 1980 actief en weet van geen ophouden want ook anno 2007 blijft minimale electro de passie van Mark Lane. En hoewel niet echt bekend, is de figuur van Mark Lane zeer invloedrijk geweest bij het populariseren van de jaren ’80 electro. Met deze compilatie worden de beginjaren van de ondertussen 25-jarige carrière van Mark Lane van onder het stof gehaald. “The Anti-Tech Testament 1981 – 1985” werd een dcd die de pioniersrol overduidelijk in de verf zet (u kiest zelf een kleur). Van meer experimentele en kale nummers met een minimaal instrumentarium tot eerder vlotte minimale electro pop tracks waartoe ongetwijfeld Mark Lane’s meest bekende hit (al is dit een eufemisme) “Sojourn” behoort. Wist u trouwens dat deze Mark Lane nog samen met The Klinik in Nederland op het podium stond en ook met Guy Van Mieghem (Vomito Negro) samen werkte? Mark Lane heeft dus ook een Belgische link, vandaar misschien de ode aan onze hoofdstad “Il Pleut à Bruxelles” (reken maar, dat doet het ook terwijl ik deze recensie schrijf)! Maar terug naar “The Anti-Tech Testament 1981 -1985”, waar ik voor u even, geheel op subjectieve wijze, de meest opzienbarende tracks heb van weerhouden; “Sojourn” vermelde ik al, maar ook “The Lights Of March”, “Mystery Hero”, “Das Nicht”, “They Call It Game”, 'Pleasure Heist', “Iceberg” (hier live), “Who’s Really Listening” of “White Glove” zijn hoewel soms kort van stuk leuke riedels die elke liefhebber van minimale electro (pop) zal kunnen smaken. Zo klonk het vooraan in de jaren ’80 en zo klinkt het ook nu nog anno 2007. De mens Mark Lane mag dan alweer wat jaren ouderen zijn geworden, zijn muziek lijkt anno 2007 weer helemaal springlevend, ondermeer dank zij deze compilatie maar misschien en vooral dank zij de hoogconjunctuur die het minimale electro genre vandaag beleefd. Een stuk essentiële geschiedenis minimale elektronica, in eerste oplage gelimiteerd op 1000 exemplaren. Dark Entries raadt u aan uw exemplaar via onderstaande link te bestellen, wat de kans dat u dit in de courante cd zaak tegen komt is even groot dan de kans dat u een keertje met Angelina Jolie het bed deelt.