Saturday, August 20, 2016

Pere Ubu - 1985 - Terminal Tower - An Archival Collection

Pere Ubu 
Terminal Tower - An Archival Collection

01. Heart Of Darkness 4:44
02. 30 Seconds Over Tokyo 6:19
03. Final Solution 4:57
04. Cloud 149 2:37
05. Untitled 3:28
06. My Dark Ages 4:00
07. Heaven 3:05
08. Humor Me 3:01
09. The Book Is On The Table 4:08
10. Not Happy 3:26
11. Lonesome Cowboy Dave 1:53

Tom Herman – guitar, bass
Peter Laughner - guitar, bass
Tim Wright - bass, guitar
Mayo Thompson - guitar
Scott Krauss – drums
Tony Maimone – bass
Allen Ravenstine – EML synthesizers
David Thomas – vocals
Dave Taylor - EML synthesizers, Acetone organ on "Final Solution", "Cloud 149"
Alan Greenblatt - rhythm guitar on "Untitled"

Terminal Tower: An Archival Collection is a compilation of Pere Ubu's early singles and b-sides. It includes the Hearthan singles (recorded with founder Peter Laughner) that were initially compiled on the Datapanik in Year Zero EP, and continues through later sides recorded with Mayo Thompson. The original Rough Trade UK LP was fine, but the American Twin Tone LP and CD both played at slightly slow speed (about a half-tone flat) throughout, had the left and right channels reversed and suffered from generally poor sound compared to the UK LP or the US singles.Most of the compilation was properly remastered for the 'Datapanik In The Year Zero' box set, and all subsequent individual reissues of the compilation have used that corrected master.

At the outset of their career, Pere Ubu released some of the very first independent-label American punk singles on their own Hearthan (later Hearpen) label, which constitute some of their most celebrated and legendary work. Terminal Tower: An Archival Collection gathers 11 tracks, mostly from the crucial Hearthan/Hearpen period (including the entire Datapanik in the Year Zero EP), plus a couple of later U.K. singles. This music's historical importance is undeniable -- not only because of the band's pioneeringly independent status in an area not as celebrated for its punk scene, but also because Pere Ubu was one of the first bands to push their art punk sound into territory later classified as alternative, a testament to their forward-looking approach. None of that would matter if Terminal Tower didn't hold up so well as a listening experience, but Pere Ubu still sounds utterly original. David Thomas' unearthly voice mumbles and sobs the angular melodies over a backdrop of garagey guitars, startling sound effects (from both guitar and synth), and odd dissonances. Moments of jarring, apocalyptic terror ("Heart of Darkness," the creeping, crawling "30 Seconds Over Tokyo") sit next to oddly beautiful introspection, sometimes on the same song (the aching angst and evocative guitar solo of "Final Solution"). Meanwhile, poppier tracks incorporate those avant-garde textures into a gleeful dada bounce. The two tracks unavailable anywhere else, "Not Happy" and "Lonesome Cowboy Dave," are slices of poppy dementia that may make the collection worthwhile for devotees who already own the box, especially since this is such a strong, coherent listen. Terminal Tower stands as the best introduction to the band not only because of its stellar material and relative accessibility, but also because it largely lacks the arty indulgences that popped up even on the group's most consistent albums. Now that it's back in print, it's essential, groundbreaking listening.



  2. Great stuff, very essential indeed, thank you very much.