Feb 24, 2016

RhoDeo 1608 Aetix


Today's artists were an industrial music group from London, one of the most important and influential early industrial music acts. Their approach was marked by the use of "found" material, re-constructed to better serve their purpose, of making "more" with "less"......N'Joy

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More expressly political than their German counterparts Einstürzende Neubauten, Test Department followed the same tack: A creative use of the ethos in which diverse objects (including large amounts of scrap metal and power tools) can be used as instruments. The group formed in the London suburb of New Cross in 1981. The core members of the group were Graham Cunnington, Paul Jamrozy, Jonathan Toby Burdon, Paul Hines and Angus Farquhar. Other members who played with the group at various times included Alistair Adams, Neil Starr, John Eacott, Andy Cowton, Tony Cudlip, David Coulter, Gus Ferguson and Martin King. Comedian Vic Reeves played bass in an early incarnation of the band.[1] The band signed to Some Bizzare Records, a label connected acts like Depeche Mode Soft Cell, PTV, Foetus, Swans. The slides and film for Test Dept multi-media events were made by visual director Brett Turnbull.

Their discography spans a wide variety of influences and styles, including a collaboration with the South Wales Striking Miners Choir in support of the miners' strike of 1984. They were particularly notable for complex and powerful percussion, as well as high-energy live performances. Like the German band Einstürzende Neubauten, another Some Bizzare Label signing with whom they are often compared, Test Dept used unconventional instruments such as scrap metal and industrial machinery as sound sources; however, Test Dept's use of these objects was far more rhythmic than was Neubauten's, and was often accompanied by film and slide shows. The group were noted for large-scale events in unusual site-specific locations, such as Waterloo station, Cannon Street station, Stirling Castle and the disused St Rollox Railway Works in Glasgow.

The band's album The Unacceptable Face of Freedom was praised by a music reviewer for The New York Times, claiming the album was notable for a "sophisticated use of sound-collage techniques and the helter-skelter momentum of its cyclical rhythms
In later years the band's music became less industrial and took on many of the properties of techno. The band's political stance was energised by the passing of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.

The band split up in 1997, but its former members have continued to work in the fields of art and culture. Angus Farquhar re-established the ancient Gaelic Beltane Fire Festival, held yearly on the night before/morning of the first of May on Edinburgh's Calton Hill. Farquhar also formed NVA, an innovative theatre company specialising in large-scale site-specific events. Cunnington, who suffers from chronic rheumatoid arthritis, produced a one-man show in 1996 called Pain, recounting his experiences as a sufferer from this condition. Jamrozy works as an artist under the name of Satellitic. Gus Ferguson teaches music to orphans in Kathmandu, and young buddhist monks in Northern India..

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A Good Night Out was TD's final LP for Some Bizzare and fulfilled the bands contract for the label after an acrimonious split. Hence it is a mixture of studio pieces and live recordings but a reasonably accurate document of the group in flux. The album continues their forceful manifesto, although the execution has progressed from the tribal pounding of early work to ambitious performance art. Much of the LP was recorded live in London and Amsterdam in what was, judging by the cover photo, a huge multi-media extravaganza — some sort of Marxist military opera. Lyrics which continue to spew bitter, sarcastic and intelligent tirades against the domestic policies of the British Empire are more powerful than ever. Pretentious perhaps, but A Good Night Out also shows Test Dept.'s abiding commitment to their beliefs — social, political and artistic.

The cover for the record is a photo of the groups set in the Monasterio De San Benito, Valladollid,Spain, which was a centre for the Spanish Inquisition in the Middle Ages. The performance in the Monastery was a collaboration with the Valladollid Music and Theatre schools as well as UK choreographers and dancers Liz Rankin and Jacob Marley, with a set designed by Tom Dixon.  The show was directed by Andy Wilson who went on to direct the award winning TV drama Cracker.

Test Dept. - A Good Night Out (flac  247mb)

Act One 
01 A Good Night Out 7:42
02 Long Live British Democracy Which Flourishes And Is Constantly Perfected Under The Immaculate     Guidance Of The Great, Honourable, Generous And Correct Margaret Hilda Thatcher. She Is The Blue Sky In The Hearts Of All Nations. Our People Pay Homage And Bow In Deep Respect And Gratitude To Her. The Milk Of Human Kindness 6:52
Act Two 
03 Generous Terms 6:05
04 Victory 5:49
05 Cha Till Sinn Tuille (We Shall Return No More) 6:40
06 Demonomania 7:13
07 Voice Of Reason 2:42

Test Dept. - A Good Night Out  (ogg   101mb)

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The only information given on the cover of Terra Firma is a brief libretto for each of the five tracks (which range from five to fourteen minutes each). Try "While the melancholy piper Alistair pipes a lament, the lovely Nadka grieves" on for size. No, you haven't picked up a Russian novel by mistake. The stories all lead to a concluding call for all world citizens to unite on firm ground (hence the title). The omnipresent drums shape four of the five cuts (the one exception being the inadvisably sung "Dark Eyes"), with other instrumentation — pianos, tapes, horns, (other peoples') voices, etc. — providing each with a distinctive signature. Another ambitious effort that only Test Dept. could have undertaken.

Test Dept. - Terra Firma (flac  198mb)

01 Fall From Light 4:33
02 Kick To Kill 6:13
03 Sweet Sedation 4:12
04 Spring Into Action 4:15
05 Plastic 4:55
06 Inheritance 3:42
07 Cold Witness 7:11

Test Dept. - Terra Firma  (ogg   83mb)

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Gododdin is the result of another collaboration, this time with Brith Gof, a Welsh theater group, and some of the lyrics and liner notes are in that beautiful and unusual language. The performance from which the album developed is based on an epic Welsh poem, and was originally staged in an abandoned car factory in Cardiff. (It was later performed in Hamburg, Germany with sponsorship from Mobil and Philip Morris; a rather ironic capitalist twist.) Despite the militaristic theme, the music is more haunting and less bombastic than A Good Night Out. A chilling work.

Test Dept. & Brith Gof - Gododdin (flac 221mb)

01 Sarff 4:31
02 Gwŷr A Aeth Gatraeth 5:54
03 Arddyledog Ganu 5:38
04 Glasfedd Eu Hancwyn 6:05
05 Trichant Eurdorchog 5:10
06 Yn Nydd Cadiawr 5:32
07 Truan Yw Gennyf Fi 5:42

Test Dept. & Brith Gof - Gododdin   (ogg  97mb)

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Soundtrack of the collaborative show with Dutch dance group Werk Centrum Dans or Rotterdam Dance Group. This consists of recordings from the live show Materia Prima, performed in Holland, Italy, Finland and Denmark, as well as some earlier material. This particular set of recordings is heavy on the tribal instrumentation as well as the usual array of hand built percussion. The pipe, didgeridoo, and a variety of native drums are used throughout the album. Overall this album is much slower and works with the subtle intricacies of the instruments rather than consisting of a pure tribal frenzy. There is as much imagery evoked in the absence of sound as their is by the instrumentation itself. Lacking the frenzy of other works, this album relies on subtle and understated percussion. The genius of these revolutionaries lies in their ability to make tracks that are simultaneously haunting, energizing, emboldening, and beautiful; there should be at least one track on this CD that will leave you reeling with strong emotion. Materia Prima is yet another classic Test Dept. live album that should not be missed.

Test Dept. - Materia Prima (flac 205mb)

01 Landrites 10:16
02 Firedance 8:07
03 Pipe And Didgeridoo 2:07
04 More Of Everything 6:57
05 Apocalypse 7:15
06 Funeral 5:57

Test Dept. - Materia Prima   (ogg  88mb)

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ric said...

thank you for Test Dept
Do you have a lossless copy of South Wales Striking Miners Choir + Test Dept - Shoulder To Shoulder (1985)?

Anonymous said...

Was so pleased to come across Test Dept/Brith Gof - Gododdin here, but the link has sadly expired. Could you re-up it maybe at some point - thanks!