One of my favourite record labels is LA’s Stones Throw, launched in 1996 by DJ Peanut Butter Wolf it has evolved from its humble backpacker hip-hop beginnings to become one of the most varied and high quality labels today, releasing everything from funk and soul, to house, and even metal and hardcore punk. They also do a great job of unearthing long forgotten gems and making them available to an appreciative modern audience. Their latest re-issue is possibly the best yet, a compilation of obscure 80s underground DIY electronica from the Minimal Wave movement called The Minimal Wave Tapes Vol 1.
Minimal Wave saw a loose collection of musicians across the US and Europe using old 70s analog synths and drum machines to create an experimental, raw and almost punk take on the electro-pop sound that was dominating the charts of the time. The majority of the music was recorded at home on the most basic of set ups, with artists collaborating by sending each other tapes in the post. If the music ever saw a release it was on limited edition cassettes or vinyl with hand drawn cover, put out by the artists themselves. Its startlingly emotional and emotive music, which despite not being heard much at the time is still influential today
Since 2005 Veronica Vasicka’s Minimal Wave records has been unearthing and remastering these records and making them available to the public in the form of limited edition vinyl and downloads. She is the defacto expert on the genre so when Peanut Butter Wolf decided to put out an 80s electronic compilation it seemed obvious to team up with Veronica and compile some of the best releases from her label.
The Minimal Wave Tapes Vol.1 is currently available exclusively from Stones Throw but hits stores on 26th January.