14 January 2005

Clock DVA's Buried Dreams


Clock DVA emerged from the North on the vapour trails of Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire, forcing their way past the steel machine dreams of the early Industrial Scene and into the metaphysical, Deleuzian, broken backed psycho-mysticism that eventually saw the members fragment into the Haflerish Anti-Group.

While many of their contemporaries seemed happy to explore and transcribe the sounds of the everyday in all it's prosaic beauty and scummy splendour, Clock DVA wanted to explore sounds that we hadn't yet heard, perhaps picking up the gauntlet from Chris Watson's Cabaret Voltaire defection. Adi Newton went down a slightly different path, one similar to the Hafler Trio but altogether more musical, as if he felt the need to hinder himself within the boundaries of beat in order to expand sideways into the psychophysical exploration of sound.

Buried Dreams is their masterpiece. Even the packaging managed to dig up a host of references: Girogio de Chirico, Marcel Duchamp, the grinning face of John Wayne Gacy, Appollinaire and Walerian Borowczyk...


Released at a time when the Rev-Co / Ministry industrial-dance axis was just about full throttle and forcing a New Beat, A Grumh physicality onto the industrial map (thus following the lead of Test Dept and the earlier, more muscular Neubauten), Buried Dreams was marketed in much the the same way - play it in your industrial nightclubs folks! - but transcended that genre in two ways: firstly by u-turning into the inner realms and the unconscious, leaving the body behind as a passive machine for the mind and, secondly, by forcing a more singular version of the non-linear song form into the arena, so that the album sounded like an album, rather than a collection of floor fillers and tub-thumpers surrounded by putty-faced filler.

It's almost a concept album, albeit more Kinks than Yes. And there's a real attempt to sing, even if the vocals can occasionally weave their way towards Gothic murk. At the time, this seemed like a real shock; us Industrial fans had been used to a few years of shouting and sampled steel smashing ( it was getting on our tits), but we were hardly prepared for singing (a similar shock came with the Nine Inch Nails first album - I remember several grumpy Goth kids staring at it, then at me, trying to work out when the nails bit was going to start).

Clock DVA - Buried Dreams


Buried Dreams takes legendary proto-vampire Countess Elizabeth Bathory as it's starting point, mapping on a Bataille self-destroying angel fixation or two and then mixing in cello rumbles, piano stabs, drones and orgasmic sighs which seem to summon the ghost of de Sade... it's the most soundtracky of the songs on the album, beat-driven but ponderous, the vocals lying low and growling in the mix...

Clock DVA - Velvet Realm

Velvet Realm opens the vocals out a little, taking the fetishism theories of Krafft-Ebing's psychopathia sexualis as a starting point for a machine clicking, Exorcist-evoking tongue-lick, complete with references to velvet kinkiness and human drains.

Clock DVA - Sound Mirror

Sound mirror sounds not unlike The Shamen circa Phorward (always my favourite album of theirs) with drums all over the place, electronic squiggles and spoken word samples diving in and out. There's mroe than a little of John dee's scrying mirror in there somewhere, though this might just be auto-suggestion or fatigue.


Clock DVA - The Hacker

The Hacker rattles along on propulsive drum patters while secret machines try to bust in from the outside like an early Matrix rehearsal. In the light of Aronofsky's Pi, this makes perfect sense.

Clock DVA are bleak, pervy, pataphysical, studious, mystical, portentous and they slightly remind you of the geeky science boy with the popping eyes and the tub of ketamine but somehow they stew all this into music which has been very both innovative (you hear the joins beginning to unravel into glitch electronica) and, they'd hate me for saying this I'm sure, fun.

Clock DVA: jumping beans in the aether.


guanoboy said...

Great post...lots of info there...

I just did a post on one of Adi Newton's side projects, The Anti-Group...check it out...


nayayer said...

Where is the whole album eh? What's with this few songs and not a link to all eh? That's pointless eh!

Anonymous said...

yea, you are forgettin the awesome "Hide" and "The Unseen" from that great album

theres a new album from them in 2009

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