Various Artists – Torque Force
I remember the good old days of collecting split LP’s and split 7″s as a teenager in the 1980’s. It was a staple of the 80’s punk world and the DIY ethos the encapsulated the genre. Sure, splits are still around and there are some damn good ones, but so is the digital factor that makes it a little different now. The spirit of collaboration is always appreciated is still present. I would routinely order split LPs so I could hear the music of bands I wasn’t familiar with or maybe read about in Flipside or MaximumRocknRoll that really intrigued me. Now it’s easy to listen before you buy, which can help sales or even hinder sales. Yes, it’s the new digitized world. You don’t need the physical media to hear the music anymore. Some people are happy streaming and others must have the physical version. Thankfully we have a choice here. Mecanica, along with Andi and Randolph & Mortimer not only take us back with the split 12″ format, they also capture some of the great sounds that identified the 80’s New Beat and EBM sound.
Mecanica has built an awe-inspiring roster of talent with: Absolute Body Control, !Bang Elektronika, Robitiko Rejekto, Die Form, Aviador Dro, Revolting Cocks, Blind Vision, Fatal Morgana, Pailhead, Dive, Interactive, Lebanon Hanover, The Force Dimension, Vomito Negro etc, and even a tribute to BOY Records. The spirit of yesteryear lives comfortably on Poland’s Mecanica Records. Mecanica certainly has an impressive roster that only gets better by adding Andi and more Randolph & Mortimer.
Andi has previously released music on Aufnahme + Weidergabe with Corpse to Corpus 12″ which is a decent into techno EBM at its finest. Now we find Andi combining elements of EBM and New Beat forming rhythms that defined a genre a long time ago. The music sets the tone immediately with the opening track “Confess”. It’s a call from the past that summons the spirit of SA42, Tribantura, Blind Vision and Public Relation with hefty bass power and the signature sounds the captivated the audiences in clubs all over Europe and still receives big props to this day. Everything about “Confess” is a throwback to the New Beat sound which is obvious to anyone familiar with the genre. Complete with tempo shifts, vocal samples and backing synth layers, makes this aces all around. The second track “Yeah, Well” continues the in the same fashion with pulverizing beats, airy backing layers and a more vocal samples rooted deep within the New Beat realm. Of course Andi adds her own style to this using the New Beat inspiration as a base and expands from that base to create two amazing tracks.
Randolph & Mortimer return to Mecanica once again after releasing their monster anthology Manifesto For A Modern World double LP last year to high acclaim. The swarming EBM power of “Citizens”, “Body” and “Enjoy More” reinforced that Randolph And Mortimer’s take on EBM with techno influences is in rarified air. Randolph & Mortimer have stayed very active over the years and in 2021 also saw the raffled release of the super limited edition CDr Born To Consume (9 physical copies exist and 5 of those 9 were raffled off to 5 lucky fans) that consisted of five early tracks from 2012-2013 that showcased a wide range of styles from the heaviness of Ministry to forays into punk and electronica. Now, just as Andi did, Randolph and Mortimer take their EBM prowess and add some New Beat influences to the mix. “Repent”, along with its televangelist “You Better Repent” sample, and the pumping power of “Cyber Exile”, both are built through the New Beat chassis pulling in familiar sounds that take us back to the glory days of New Beat in late 80’s. Again, the sounds have their inspiration from the past, but they also have one foot in the future as well.
Both Andi and Randolph & Mortimer find ways to refresh the old sounds with modern takes on a sacred genre. I found this very interesting even before I knew what the inspiration was behind the concept of this split 12″. As I played through the four songs drenched in revelry, I was immediately and completely captivated for every second of every track. New Beat wasn’t afraid to get a little nasty from time. Remember A Taste Of Sugar or Erotic Dissidents? There was an edge that really made it fun to play. Both Andi and Randolph & Mortimer capture that edge in sound while injecting some EBM elements into the mix making this a blast to blast!!!!!
On a side note Andi is the person behind New York City’s Synthicide, that brings in amazing artists to play the darkened rooms that take us away from the realities of a cruel world ravaged by the ongoing global pandemic to a place where music reigns supreme. Going into Brooklyn to the likes of Saint Vitus is always a pleasure. It’s the modern Mecca of the underground. People from the tri-state area flock to this place and any place Synthicide is inhabiting. It reminds me of CBGB’s, The Anthrax or ABC No Rio. It wasn’t always a completely local crowd as the bands drew people from all over. Great times with great artists. Hopefully Andi is working on bringing Randolph & Mortimer over to this side of the Atlantic. Check out Andi’s Soundcloud for wealth of awesomeness you will thank me for pointing out.
Torque Force is limited to 350 copies. 105 on highlighter-yellow vinyl and the rest on traditional black. The highlighter-yellow is gone, but you can pick up the the black vinyl from Mecanica. The service from Mecanica is a timely and efficient. Get your Antler-Subway groove on and move your ass and feel the beat!!!!!