Ike Yard 1980-82 Collected

[Acute; 2006]

Rating: 4/5

Styles: no wave, synth punk, improvised, industrial
Others: Suicide, Cabaret Voltaire, Mars

Ike Yard might just be the darkest and most experimental music Factory records ever laid their hands on. Yes, they have the rhythmic pulses and cold metallic radiance of Joy Division and A Certain Ratio, but they're coming from a whole different place. New York, to be exact. In fact, Ike Yard was actually the first American act to be signed to the label, and despite any aesthetic similarities, the continental divide from their labelmates is obvious. Drawing on influences as varied as early punk rock, avant garde electronic music, and free jazz, Ike Yard's sound is highly volatile, and at their peak all members were armed with keyboards and other electronics in which they mostly used for improvisation. Maintaining a borderline sense of dancebility, their music seems to take as much of a cue from Louis and Bebe Barron's Forbidden Planet soundtrack as it does any Giorgio Marauder track.

The liner notes cite Iggy Pop's The Idiot as being something as a mind-fuck for the band, and while 25 years ago Ike Yard may have been viewed as a disregard for everything that preceded it, the cold glamour of Thin White Duke/Berlin era David Bowie certainly shows its face in retrospect. In addition to being pale electronic and sheik, they also have the same sense of studio experimentation that's ever so present in the Bowie/Eno collaborations as well as during Faust's early years at their Wumme compound. Although their first EP showcases songs with distinct rhythm and monotone vocal lines, by end of their career these elements seem secondary to their electronic spasms and improvisations. If the unreleased material at the end of the disc is any indication, they probably weren't ever limiting themselves to beat driven music but rather choosing the most "accessible" material for release.

Over the course of their short-lived group, progress is obvious. So obvious in fact, that the group disbanded due to not being able to keep up with themselves. Apparently being overwhelmed with ideas is a curse for some (although a total head-scratcher for me), and the idea that they were progressing faster than anyone could release their music was discouraging enough to throw in the towel (they would have thrived in this era short run/CDR labels). But this single disc captures most of it; the original Night After Night EP, the self-titled Factory Records LP, along with unreleased material and detailed liner notes by various band members. It's yet another reminder of a New York heyday, were everyone involved with a flourishing scene had a band, and most of them were really fucking good.

1. Night After Night
2. Sense of Male
3. Infra-ton
4. The Whistler
5. Cherish
6. Motiv
7. M. Kurtz
8. Loss
9. NCR
10. Kino
11. Cherish 8
12. Half a God
13. Nocturne
14. 20
15. War=Strong
16. We are One
17. Dancing and Slaving
18. Wolfen

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