30 October 2012

Vintage Swedish EBM

My last post sent some shivers of nostalgia down my spine, so here's some other early acts of Swedish EBM. First out is Inside Treatment. I remember buying their cassette debut "An Introduction To A Mystery" in 1989, and their "Anaesthetic Age" 12" in 1991, but after that I didn't really keep up with their progress. Like so many other acts of this time they released their debut on Front Music Productions and then went on to Energy Rekords, after that label was formed by merging FMP with Electronic Beat Association and Energy. Here's a track from a live show in Köping in Sweden in 1990.

Another band that I was quite infatuated with at the time was Scapa Flow from Uppsala. I ran into one of the members at a party at a common acquaintance a couple of years ago. I remember him telling me about their total naivety to what they were doing and how to use their equipment. Since there wasn't really any Swedish scene when they started out, they were quite free to do what they felt like. Anyway, I bought their debut mini-LP "The Guide" when it came out in 1989 and remember running around in a  Scapa Flow t-shirt in the eighth grade, thinking it was the hippest thing to wear the name of a group nobody else at my school had heard about, like the annoying proto-hipster I was. I never got to see them live though, but here's a clip from a concert in Köping in 1990. (Filmed at the same occasion as the Inside Treatment gig above?)

And then there was Cat Rapes Dog. When I first heard that name, sometime in 1988 when I was thirteen, I remember thinking: Oh, shit, that has to be the coolest band name ever, and quickly ordered their cassette "Property Produces Bodily Injury", released the year before. I was gobsmacked when I listened to the tape and read the lyric sheet. Could you get much radical and cooler! I mean, a synth band that sang about perverted cowboys and acid rain ... When I saw them live just before Christmas in 1989 (I think, it was ..) it was a show that impressed me greatly, though I think that probably had more to do with fact that I was just starting to go to concerts properly and was pretty easily stunned.

At the time I thought very highly of Cat Rapes Dogs' releases and did follow them quite thoroughly, but in retrospect it's probably one of the acts that have aged less well. Except maybe for the tracks on their debut 12" "Columna Vertebralis". The following clip is supposed to be from a live show in 1990. It's pretty crap technically, but the earliest a quick trawl on Youtube turned up.

Another act that are worth a mention is Sepulchre Inc. who only ever released the great 7" "Celebration". I can't find any videos on Youtube, but Celebration is available to stream. And then there are Pouppe Fabrikk of course, from my last post. Probably the one of the bunch who has aged best.

Anyway, That's a brief snippet of the Swedish EBM scene of the late 80's and early 90's, a scene steeped in influences from the 80's industrial and EBM-scene with DAF, Nitzer Ebb, Skinny Puppy, Front 242, The Klinik, à;GRUMH... etc. The Swedish scene would evolve into something a bit more sophisticated a couple of years on, with Covenant at the forefront. A scene that produced music that was much more technically skilled, but not quite as much fun. At least, that's the way I like to remember it.

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