Various - Trax Test (Excerpts From The Modular Network 1981-1987) 2xLP
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 (aka Not Waving), Trax Test is a portal to the international scene which laid the grassroots for a proliferation of electronic music over the proceeding decades. This was a pioneering part of the infrastructure for independent music distribution which could be said to pre-echo the myriad social networks and platforms today. As Frans De Waard astutely points out in the 16-page booklet, there were no "templates" for this thing back then, meaning artists did everything DIY: from cutting, pasting and Xeroxing their artwork to experimenting with recording techniques and disseminating their work. All of this results in a wonderfully daring and freeform mosaic of ideas which valued the virtues of ostensibly "unfinished" or open-ended work. 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 (i.e. cheap drum machines, synths, FX and tape) cropping up in various mutant formations. This set is right up there with the best compilations from Vinyl On Demand or Minimal Wave.
Feauting cuts by Cancer, M.A. Phillips, Nausea, Amok, Mecanique Vegetale, Daniele Ciullini, E-Coli, The Cop Killers, Peter Mayer, Rod Summers, Robin Crozier, Capitalist Pig, Biagio D'egidio, Piermario Ciani, Vittore Baroni, Nocturnal Emissions, De Rezke, Ado Scaini, Enrico Piva, Giancarlo Martina, B Sides, Colin Potter, Naif Orchestra, Merzbow (Vacation Of Merzbow Lowest Music & Arts), Monty Cantsin, Die Form, Utopia Production, Spirocheta Pergoli, Nostalgia, Ptose, Ddaa, Zone Verte and I Nipoti Del Faraone.