K-X-P is a rock trio consisting of Timo Kaukolampi and Tuomo Puranen of Op:l Bastards fame and Anssi Nykänen, a weathered session drummer. The main reference of their hypnotic music is krautrock from 40 years back, but they do throw in a few afrobeat rhythms, ominously cinematic keyboard sound walls, hippy Middle Eastern melodies and some dancey pulse. Kaukolampi’s idiosyncratic singing style has been sorely missed, although it comes only in small doses this time. Here and there you can also make out the distant breathy vocals of Norwegian pop princess Annie.
Trisomie 21 is a French cold wave group, formed in Lille, France in 1980 by brothers Philippe and Hervé Lomprez.
Marcel Thiel, aka Micky Mike, began his career in Belgian punk band Chainsaw (who released one EP, See-Saw, in 1977) before reinventing himself as electronic genius Snowy Red. Possibly the best of all the early minimal synth brigade, Thiel took Numan, Foxx and all the European influences forward into a project quite personal and outstanding while still following the ‘rules’. His music’s sheer sense of wonder and amazing freshness even today is breathtaking.
Snowy Red released four albums, the best of which in my humble opinion is The Right To Die, my second favourite one-finger synth album behind Foxx’s Metamatic. Never Alive is representative of its spine-tingling immediacy, and the lyrics are both ahead of their time and beautifully insane.
Like so many others Snowy Red’s music never received the commercial acclaim it deserved. A final album, titled (in hindsight with tragic irony) The Beat Is Over, surfaced in 1989 on Antler Subway. A live appearance at the Antwerp BimFest in 2003 was the last outing for the project.
Marcel Thiel died in May 2009 aged just 52, after complications following surgery. Onderstroom Records has just released a magnificent 5-album tribute box set including the three 1981-84 albums (Snowy Red, The Right To Die, Vision), plus B-sides, rarities and a newly-unearthed set of demo recordings.
Shoc Corridor were a minimal wave group from West London who released two full-lengths and a handful of singles during the early 1980s. Their songs typically consisted of sparse, midtempo drum machine beats and chilling, atmospheric synths, often with wayward vocals. Some of their tracks featured 4/4 beats that prefigured techno, but their sound was generally a bit too light and delicate for the dancefloor. The group was formed in the early ’80s by vocalist Paul O’Carroll, guitarist Chris Davis, and synthesizer players Andy Garnham and Nogi Prass. They signed to a small London-based label called Shout and released their debut 12″ EP A Blind Sign in 1982. Debut full-length Experiments in Incest arrived the following year. David and Prass then left the group, and were replaced by Paul Humphries and Sarah Panton. The new lineup of Shoc Corridor released 7″ single “Holding Treasure” on Shout, and 12″ single “Fever” and Train of Events, their significantly more accessible second LP, on the Quiet label, all in 1984. Tragically, Humphries committed suicide that year, and the band ceased activity. Belgian label Classix Records brought the group’s catalog to compact disc with the release of Anthology in 1993. Another Belgian label, Testtoon Records, released a remix 12″ of Shoc Corridor’s track “Artificial Horizon” in early 2013. San Francisco-based label Dark Entries reissued Shoc Corridor’s debut LP in 2015.