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Wierd Compilation Volume II: Analogue Electronic Music (Wierd)

24 June 2008

As one of the last bastions of the truly strange in New York City’s musical underground, Wierd Wednesday [sic] at Home Sweet Home is a welcome refuge from the summer heat. Once a week the icy strains of minimal synth and frostbitten coldwave guitars sear the ears and enslave the body in a taxidermy-adorned cavern on Chrystie Street. Within the thick fog that permeates the bar you’ll find some of New York’s finest from the art and music worlds partying alongside the young, the restless and the socially awkward as they partake in dancing, drinking, deviance and usually a live performance at midnight. If you’re not fortunate enough to stop by in person, however, the party’s very own record label, Wierd Records, has a new compilation that showcases some of the eclectic emerging artists that are played or have performed at Wierd.

As the second compilation Wierd has put out (see the first one reviewed here), the 4 LP set focuses on analogue electronic music with the requirement that it be synthetic yet organic and created through a symbiotic relationship between man and machine. (This ethos is further elaborated upon in the Wierd Records manifesto that accompanies the release.) Tracks run the gamut from the synth pop of Swedish performance artist TOBIAS BERNSTRUP, who sings in stern, accented English about computers uniting against man, to the early industrial and minimal wave that New York’s XENO AND OAKLANDER combine to an eerie outcome. Other songs of note come from VENDOME, LED ER EST, SLEEP MUSEUM and ANGEL OF DECAY who all find a way to chill the very marrow of your bones through various aural plans of attack. For you noise fans, there are very short tracks – sonic spasms if you will – of pure distorted sound to disturb you. And then there’s CADAVER IN DRAG, perhaps the best name for a band ever to be conceived.

This compilation, as I said of the last one, is a true objet d’art. It comes adorned with one of founder and venerated New York artist PIETER SCHOOLWERTH’s paintings and includes a lengthy, full-size booklet that captures images of the bands and patrons of Wierd. Just as tantalizing to the eye as it is to the ear, fans of the abstract and the post-modern, early synth and contemporary noise should surely take note. Even if you’re miles away from the Lower East Side, you can still experience the very rare in the cold, dark confines of your home.


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