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Trax Test (Excerpts From The Modular Network 1981-1987)

Ecstatic Recordings

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For many, the world of early electronic music is an exceptionally difficult world to bury themselves into - operating on the fringes of absolute obscurity in their own time, hundreds of experimental electronic artists outside of a very privileged inner circle are completely unbeknownst to the wider world - their music seemingly lost in the ever expanding canon. We're incredible grateful, then, that there are operatives like Vitore Baroni and Alessio Natalizia who take the risk with a reissue like Trax Test. This LP compiles both incredibly rare and previously unreleased material by the wider Trax Collective (a music and arts project operating out of Italy from 81-87) - both satisfying the desparate collectors and providing a mind-bending introduction to a sphere of musical work that has come to influence the worlds of Noise and Industrial in the decades since, and touches on an enormous assortment of genres across its 25 tracks.

Here's the label giving a brief description of Trax and the project:

"‘Trax Test’ is the first ever survey of Italy’s pioneering, visionary and influential label and mail art collective Trax, which ran from 1981 - 1987 as a network for the creation of collaborative projects. The collective included a pre-NWW Colin Potter and some of the earliest work from Masami Akita aka Merzbow, but also had deep connections with the art world; a few trax members went on to become famous designers and artists - Ettore Sottsass of hugely influential Memphis Group even guests on vocals on the last track of the compilation. The whole selection here is rare as heck and sorely in-demand by collectors, much of it now making its vinyl premiere some 30 odd years after the fact.

With credit due to compilers Vittore Baroni of Trax and Ecstatic’s avowed wave fiend, Alessio Natalizia (Not Waving) - who was also behind the ‘Mutazione (Italian Electronic & New Wave Underground 1980-1988)’ compilation - ‘Trax Test’ is a portal to the international scene which laid the grassroots for a proliferation

of electronic music over the proceeding decades - a pioneering part of the infrastructure for independent music distribution which could be said to pre-echo the myriad social networks and platforms which exist for sharing music today.

As Frans De Waard astutely points out in the 16-page booklet, there were no ‘templates’ for this thing back then - as opposed to the forms of Soundcloud, Spotify or YouTube nowadays - meaning artists did everything DIY: from cutting, pasting and xeroxing their artwork to experimenting with recording techniques and disseminating their work; all resulting a wonderfully daring and freeform mosaic of ideas which valued the virtues of ostensibly ‘unfinished’ or open-ended work, when compared with more expensive, ‘proper’ studio output.

Traces of disco, cosmic krautrock, jazz, electro-pop and industrial noise are all tessellated across the compilation’s 25 tracks, with a number of artists and the same equipment - cheap drum machines, synths, FX and tape - cropping up in various, mutant formations.

In terms of obscurity, quality and variation, this set is right up there with the best compilations from Vinyl- on-Demand (an early supporter of this project), Light Sounds Dark (although Ecstatic guys did it legit, lol), or Minimal Wave, and likewise probably saves you the few months wages it would take to track down all the originals."

Comes with a booklet that showcases the visual aspect of the Trax Collective (it's absolutely gorgeous).

1. Cancer - "Telematic" (4:34)
2. MA Phillips - "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" (5:54)
3. Nausea - "No Conversation" (3:41)
4. Amok & Mecanique Vegetale - "Track 4" (2:12)
5. Daniele Ciullini & Amok - "The Secret Door" (2:11)
6. E Coli - "Borax" (1:36)
7. The Cop Killers - "Cop Killers Theme/Calma Atmosfera" (4:31)
Side 2
1. Peter Mayer, Rod Summers, Robin Crozier, Capitalist Pig & Biagio D'Egidio - "Notterossa & Rednight" (Excerpt) (4:07)
2. Piermario Ciani, Vittore Baroni, Noctural Emissions & De Rezke - "Live Blister Bump" (3:37)
3. Piermario Ciani, Ado Scaini, Enrico Piva & Giancarlo Martina - "I Love Cancer" (3:16)
4. B Sides - "Trybuna Ludu" (2:50)
5. Colin Potter - "Solidarity At Wujek Colliery" (6:15)
Side 3
1. Piermario Ciani - "Co Mix" (3:11)
2. Naif Orchestra - "Fratelli D'Italia" (4:32)
3. Merzbow (Vacatiopn Om Merzbow Lowest Music & Arts) - "Kimigayo" (4:24)
4. Monty Cantsin - "Catastronics" (4:39)
5. Die Form - "Sex By Force" (3:20)
6. Utopia Production - "Chainsaw Massacre" (2:18)
Side 4
1. Spirocheta Pergoli - "Merendine" (3:18)
2. Nostalgia - "Biosolution For Today" (3:19)
3. Ptose - "The Jellyfish's Mood" (2:59)
4. Vittore Baroni - "(Living With) Prosthesis" (2:07)
5. Deficit Des Annees Anterieures - "Ghosts Of The Paper Trumpets" (3:41)
6. Zone Verte - "Le Fantome De L'Elephant" (3:33)
7. I Nipoti Del Faraone - "Prendi L'Osso E Corri" (1:36)


Nausea - No Conversation

Naif Orchestra - Fratelli D'Italia

Nostalgia - Biosolution For Today

Prendi L'Osso E Corri - I Nipoti Del Faraone