Adi Newton, conceptualizing & envisioning Clock DVA since 1978.
2023 sees the first DVA all new album release since 1993’s ‘Sign’. The 2nd (electronic) incarnation of Clock DVA was then already faded out with only Adi Newton and Robert E. Baker left. Dean Dennis had at least participated still to ‘Man Amplified’ before starting his own project Sector in the fall of 1993. Adi Newton did publish the weakest TAGC album ‘Iso Erotic Calibrations’ in 1994 and also the excellent ‘Burning Water’ Recordings dating back to 1987 and 1990 on Side Effekts and stayed as far as known in Italy with very few signs of musical activities besides 1996’s Psychophysicist collaboraton with Andrew McKenzie which had already been recorded in 1994.
A reissue deal with Mute was once rumoured about but nothing came of it so in general all proper DVA albums are still mostly out of print. I guess it is quite difficult to sort it out properly as there have been many group members through the years who contributed even when A. Newton always was the head and main writer.
Vinyl On Demand explored with various formats and boxes the earliest phase from roughly 1978 to 1980 with three different box-sets (4 if you like to count the double 7″ with the book) and which helped me to get my hands on some of the material I only ever heard of before.
But concerning new music the current line-up did not rush with releases.
Maurizio Martinucci (aka TeZ) Permanent DVA Member since 2010.
As is his do-it-all-alone style various sites and announcemnts popped up in the 2000’s but until 2013 when a compilation of unpublished Mid 90’s tracks appeared as “Post Sign” and in 2014 the first new tracks coupled with a multi media approach, remixes and video on an USB Stick in best possible audio quality plus two remixes on a limited 12″ through his Antererio Research Media Com. the Neoteric CD EP in 2016 was the next one with a Remix 12″ following in 2019 and also a Vinyl Reissue.
The Anti Group Project stayed pretty on the backburner besides a new Remaster available in 2013 of 1994’s Adi Newton solo effort, a few compilation tracks up to 2018 and very few live activity but is now fully active again with no less than 3 new works published and another expanded reissue of the singles Compilation. A playlist with TAGC & Clock DVA tracks older and more recent compiled by Adi Newton to promote his appearance as The Anti Group at Cinema Classico’s Overlook in Torino, Italy on the 1st of July 2017 is well worth a listen:
Adi Newton also collaborated with Jack Dangers (of MBM) as SŌON and published one excellent CD in 2019.
Various other projects have seen the light of the day, usually difficult to obtain, expensive or both. It got better since he teamed up with the Italian label / publishing company Rizosfera /NU KFM who handle the european ARM COM Releases for now.
Incredible 23 years have passed without an regular Keith LeBlanc solo album now, hard to believe as he’s been all over the place all of the time but except some reissues on his / Blanc bandcamp lately there was hardly any solo activity besides 2008’s Chess Moves – Future Blues Project not many seemed to know what to make of as it was a strange hybrid of original recordings with added Instrumentation by Keith, Doug (Wimbish) and Skip (McDonald) – maybe best described as found on dc “Re-production and partial re-instrumentation of old blues tracks using the original tapes”. Then there where regrouping activities as Tack>>Head live and even culminating into the “For The Love Of Money” cover versions album in 2014 which didn’t exactly overmatch it’s expectations. I’m not even sure if the title was meant ironically.
Anyway; 12 Movements Of Boom does.
Of course it might be there where no expectations to see another KLB album which was really regrettable as his incredible mix of electro, hip hop, funk, jazz and whatever style comes to his mind held together by his rhythmic brilliance somehow managed to build up to amazing heights, especially on Time Traveller (Blanc Records 1992) and Stranger Than Fiction (Enigma / Nettwerk 1989) two albums I regularly return to. The selected cast of guest musicians old and new support this all-in vision.
His long time allies Doug & Skip ‘Little Axe’ and a shelved but not forgotten tape with recordings of vocals and poetry from the late Andy Fairley given to him in the 90’s build the solid core of Boom. He dives more into mellower jazz ambience and hip hop here than in the 1990’s without loosing himself and his trademark edgy beats. A very welcome highlight.
A week later, October 25th he released the companion album – Boom Instrumentals & Bonus Tracks.
“This is an unedited recording of our live performance at the 6th Next Sound festival in Kyiv, in 2018.
We are making this available as a free download and in doing so, urge you to make a donation to a not for profit humanitarian aid organisation that’s supporting people in Ukraine.
There are many of these all over the world so you should be able to find one near you.
In the UK, donations to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), an alliance of 15 charities, will be matched by the government, up to a maximum of £20million: donation.dec.org.uk/ukraine-humanitarian-appeal
Eric Ramsden from Manchester was one of a handful of early electronic post punk pioneers, unique and uncompromising not completely unlike Robert Rental, Fad Gadget, . He was involved with early Factory acts, the New Hormones label, Buzzcocks’ Pete Shelley as The Tiller Boys and maybe best documented with Cabaret Voltaire (as guest musician on record, as opening act on tour and fully absorbed on the Pressure Company live LP). From solo output up to putting a band together (The Bedlamites) and getting recruited for the then Manchester based femme fatale junkie legend Nico as tourband member – with additional stints in the Suns Of Arqua, Psychic TV and the Durutti Column.
This short bio shows a lot unknown facts, thankfully supported by the man himself about his whereabouts and his surprising return to electronic music starting with ‘Man Dog’ in 2014 on Klanggalerie after a 18 years hiatus and continuing until the present day. Find his latest Album ‘No-Go‘ here as CD and DL and a live recording from 2019 promoting the ‘Wire Me Up‘ 2*12″ on soundcloud.
An incredible find, many, many thanks to Hugo Ball.
Another lost album rediscovery thanks to mobile working lead to this release. Partially it has still a 90’s optimistic Ambient flair with a touch dreamaway but paired with selected speech samples. Soundwise it prequels Fernando Cerqueira’s earlier vaporwave works as Walt Thisney with it’s distinguished slightly unreal appeal up to the final track which dives into drone territory and was published separate in 2004 as EP. This one connects more to his recent works with it’s timeless approach.
The general unreal futuristic feel no matter if generated through different voices or noises, synth or piano sounds is what always caught my attention so this is paired with altered images of Tokyo, Japan, 〒101 0021 tōkyō to, chiyoda city, sotokanda, 1 chōme−15−１ 半田ビル (Original Photo by Gwen King on Unsplash) to reflect this.
‘Asuna’ was his second solo release after Ras.Al.Ghul splitted for good. The first one, ‘Space.Scape’ had been reissued before remixed and remastered by his alter ego Walt Thisney in digital format. Originally issued by Thisco in 2003 as Thisk 12 on CD (and Thisk 19 in 2004) who rececently celebrated their 20th Anniversary with a highly recommended compilation (ltd. LP / DL) 7300 Earth Spins featuring new and old allies of the label he founded together with Luis Van Seixas aka Sci Fi Industries when he too still lived in Portugal back in 2001.
If you order the LP you’ll even get a Compilation CD from 20 Years ago free with it to linder the hurting if you see the postage costs.
Listen and get this insubstantial artificial artefact here >
Mark Griffin was born in 1957 in Kentucky but based in Dallas, Texas since 1979 as far as known. Actually a classical trained and studied musician and trumpet player, he joined a local New Wave Band, The Telefones and played with Jazz musicians, worked for a local indie record store during the 80’s and became MC 900 Ft. Jesus ca. 1988, named after an Televengalists vision of 900 Ft. high Jesus statue he promoted heavily at that time. Together with DJ Zero (Patrick Rollins) they self relased a first 12″ which caught interest of Nettwerk – then looking for quite progressive acts fitting in the late EBM / Synth Wave / Alternative Electronic corner like Consolidated, Meat Beat Manifesto, Severed Heads, Skinny Puppy and more.
“Hell With The Lid Off” (Nettwerk, 1989) with DJ Zero was themed arround the questionable TV & Radio preachers and their agenda not unlike the middle ages indulgence tradings which caused the first great crisis of the catholic church, the schism and splitting into evangelic and catholics in Europe. Paired with a good sense of irony and sarcasm.
The irresistible groovy electro tracks ‘I’m Going Straight To Heaven’ and ‘Truth Is Out Of Style’ made their way into my favourites back then, despite the unavoidable Stephen R. Gilmore Design which ruined so many records for me and the obvious hip hop scratching. I nearly sorted this LP out after reviewing it then but for a late 80’s record it beared many good ideas and did not hesitate to jump over the boarder to the plain absurd. A special humour which was seldom in my usual listening then. The album title was of course another direct quote – John Peel even offered a session as I recently discovered feat. ‘Truth Is Out Of Style’, ‘Real Black Angel’ and ‘Revolution 10’ (from the ‘UFO’s Are Real’ 12″).
Peel Session, February 1990
“Welcome To My Dream” (Nettwerk, 1991) expanded the spectrum Mark Griffin worked in favourable. Less synthesizer and hip hop orientated it started with a bang – ‘Falling Elevators’ which was an surprise success 5 years later after Levis used it in a campaign and got subsequently issued as a single in 1996 (!).
The more in sync with the earlier tracks ‘Killer Inside Me’ and the futuristic lounge jazz track ‘The City Sleeps’ where then as singles issued with lesser success. The bizarre ‘Dalis Handgun’, nearly an acapella track also showed Griffin’s main interest in leftfield themes and storytelling as did ‘Adventures In Failure’ and ‘Hearing Voices In One’s Head’. It is a great album and much more serious than the first but as the song titles give away it’s no surprise the mass appeal needed for commercial success was vanishing. Slightly jazzy downtempo tracks where not really en vogue while half America started stage-diving to Grunge and Europe was raving on with sidesteps into Warp, IDM and Ambient. The lyrics, missing an overall album concept kept the intelligent observations, the sarcasm but with self-critic present also which was not going down to well with most of the hip hop influenced audience.
Mark Giffin writes on his channel: “About 47 minutes of a live show we did in Moers, Germany on June 7, 1992. I don’t think it was broadcast, but rather was shown on closed circuit TVs scattered around the festival. Someone recorded it and gave me a copy, but unfortunately they stopped the tape before the end of the set. Still, it’s some of the best footage I have of the band from those days. Features Chris McGuire on reeds, Baby G on turntables, and Mitch Marine on drums.”
“One Step Ahead Of The Spider” (American Recordings, 1994) appeared on a new label, three years on. Already involved in “Welcome To My Dream” where Mike Dillon (Percussion etc.) and Chris McGuire (Saxophones), but now he went full way into jazz band realms, adding Drew Phelps (Bass), Dave Palmer (Piano), Earl Harvin (Drums, nowadays playing with Tindersticks), Nikhil Pandya (Tabla) and Rajiv Chakravarti (Tambura).
Starting the album with an 11m43s track – ‘New Moon’ – showed how ignorant / arrogant / free of commercial orientation Mark Griffin operated back then. If you made this and managed to follow the storytelling you where ready for the album. If not, then not. Many of his old listeners might have skipped it then, I know I did. I missed any sense of dynamic groove and was so disappointed I gave it away after listening half hearted ca. twice…
The artwork did not help either.
I think this is one of the quite spectacular cases where the grown public was scared away in large parts without gaining a new.
Anyway – this year I finally felt curious enough to give it a go again (…..).
Lyrically Mark Giffin took this to the top, the dark sarcasm he showed on “Welcome To My Dream” turned into blank Cynicism besides his observational storytelling. A Curtis Mayfield cover with Living Color’s Vernon Reid guesting on Guitar did not save this from being a step ahead into uncharted territory. ‘Tiptoe Through The Inferno’ is one of the greatest song titles ever used imho but it describes pretty well where he was heading to.
Find a comic adaption with full lyrics on instagram courtesy of Simon Paul.
‘But If You Go’ was the second and final single, the video was never properly finished nor aired and is from his personal archive.
Afterwards – he disappeared. A fourth album was planned but didn’t work out; “I had sort of lost my sense of humor about it,” he says. “The big thing about MC 900 is we’re a pretty dark thing, but it was like I used to at least try to be kind of funny and I got to the point where I didn’t think anything was funny anymore and I still kind of am that way.” (Dallas Observer Interview, January 2017),
He finally opened up a little about his whereabouts, frustration leading to more alcohol and a complete reinvention as Pilot and Flight Instructor to build up enough praxis to apply for a commercial Pilot license but after 9/11 demand vanished and he found himself living of his savings until he asked for a job in a bookstore. Years later he slowly started DJ’ing in a small bar, started a MC 900 Ft. Jesus facebook page in 2012, took on a second Job to survive.
A full professional recording “Live In Vienna — A.D. MCMXCII” (2013, self released), a Radio Broadcast from 1992 was published via MC 900 Ft.’s Facebook page as free download in December 2013.
I discovered this thanks to discogs when I was startled whatever happened to him after listening to ‘Welcome To My Dream’ once again to start my day working from home.
In 2016 he finally made a full live appeareance which can be found on youtube.
So, at last he found the attitude to go out and play again in addition to his daytime jobs after a hiatus of more than 15 years. Perhaps there is more interest in his dark, witty observational style maybe now than in the 90’s and it would be great to have a few songs reflecting the changes of our times from his POV.
Bonus Track: Instore set, Record Store Day 4/22/2017, Dallas Tx
1: Falling Elevators / 2: The Killer Inside Me / 3: If I Only Had A Brain / 4: Tiptoe Through The Inferno / 5: The City Sleeps / 6: U.F.O.’s Are Real
When he released his last ‘solo’ album in 2017 (before returning to use Cabaret Voltaire for new releases) I always felt this would be a great way to end his lifelong career. “Dasein” includes many facettes, uncomprising and still groovy, disturbing but listenable. It sums up so many of his interests and phases masterly and as such could have been the closing point of his musical career, going full circle from electro, industrial, experimental white funk, acidic house and experimental cut up’s.
[Intone CD9 – also the first Vinyl 2LP on his own label]
Mute announced today via Instagram:
It is with great sadness that we confirm our great and dear friend, Richard H. Kirk has passed away.
Richard was a towering creative genius who led a singular and driven path throughout his life and musical career.
We will miss him so much.
I did not yet come to terms with his two latest CV Drone releases yet but loved the beautiful 12″ and liked the “Shadow Of Fear” album even if I had the impression that he’s been playing it safer then necessary. Somehow I doubt it was an attempt in seniority mildness…
Classic later CV in the mix (l.t.r. Richard H. Kirk, Stephen Mallinder)
A great deal of his work was curating the Cabaret Voltaire back catalouge, licensed nearly complete to Mute. Partly remastered, remixed and reworked carefully besides many live recordings and some unreleased gems like the complete “Chance Vs. Causality” Soundtrack from 1979.
I’m running out of words for now. Thankyou for all the hours and hours music & inspiration.
Find a great essay by Ken Hollings over at The Wire now for some interesting thoughts, insights and observations.
As there is not much literature on CV available or has been available in the past with the exception of “The Art Of The Sixth Sense” and it’s updated story which was nearly a different book (“Industrial Evolution – Through The 80’s With Cababaret Voltaire“) due the request of CV / RHK by Mick Fish there might be interest in this recently published neat Interview collection by Fabio Méndez which looks a lot like a true labour of love to me which was never ment to be an epitaph to the story.
I’ve read about this documentary when it came out (or at least was shown in some selected places a few times) but could’nt go to watch it. It never appeared on DVD as far as I know but today I stumbled upon it – so yeah – here are just 24 years later some interesting tidbits from the New York scene in glorious youtube quality. Thanks to the uploader.
DONT BRING A DOG, 1997
“It´s not like writing a popsong and have it played on the fucking radio!”
Aurelio Valle / Factory Press
“A lot of these alternative rockbands seem to be more into Kiss than into Duchamp!”
Kid Congo Powers / Ex-Cramps, Ex-Gun Club, Ex-Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
“Suddenly we became part of the mainstream and that´s still disconcerting!”
Thurston Moore / Sonic Youth
Regie/Buch/Kamera: Oliver Schwabe
Kamera(Interviews): Dirk Lindner
Schnittregie: Rita Schwarze
Schnitt: Oliver Schwabe
Ton Remix: Thomas Arntz
Produktion: Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln
And a little Kid Congo bonus from 2016… He just turned 62 and lives happily with his man & cat!