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Ramleh

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Biografie

Named after a pivotal battle of the Crusades (to give you some idea of the level of pretension at work here), the Croydon, England-based noise group Ramleh was an on-again, off-again project led by guitarist Gary Mundy and most often in collaboration with singer Philip Best (who also worked with the pioneering electronic group Whitehouse) and drummer Stuart Dennison. Like Whitehouse and Best's early group Iphar, Ramleh was originally a part of the short-lived and obscure "power electronics" offshoot of industrial music, a deliberately provocative and brutal form of music designed to shock and offend, both sonically and in its packaging. The group's first cassette-only release, 21/5/62/82, was purportedly released and titled to commemorate the execution of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann. (Ramleh and the other bands in this style often flirted with right-wing totalitarian imagery for its shock value; Mundy and Best have since disavowed the practice and denied any affiliation with hate groups.) Ramleh recorded four more cassette-only releases in 1982: Onslaught, Live to Thereisenstadt, Live New Force, and Live Phenol, which were excerpted on the vinyl sampler Neuengamme later that year. 1983 saw the release of three more live cassettes, Live McCarthy, Live at Moden Tower 12/10/1983, and Live at Prossneck 1/10/83, along with the LP A Return to Slavery and the EP The Hand of Glory.

The first incarnation of Ramleh ended in 1984, although Mundy kept his label and distribution company, Broken Flag, active with releases by like-minded groups as well as historical Ramleh releases like a second sampler LP, Statement, the rarities cassette 104 Weeks, and 1985's huge live cassette box set, Awake! Ramleh returned to duty in late 1986 with the cassettes Hole in the Heart and Nerve, as well as 1987's Pumping and the 1989 LP Grudge for Life. Ramleh then disappeared for two more years, returning in 1991 with three LPs, Blowhole, Caught From Behind, and Crystal Revenge/Paid in Full, a split LP with MTT. 1992 was equally productive, with Shooters Hill and Shout From Hand added to the ever-growing discography. 1994 added Homeless, followed in 1995 by the three-volume CD compilation We Created It, Let's Take It Over, a collection of tracks from the early-'80s cassettes named after Patti Smith's manifesto at the end of her live version of "My Generation," and the album of new material Be Careful What You Wish For.

Also in 1995, Mundy released a split CD called Adieu, All You Judges that was credited both to Ramleh and his other project, Skullflower. The two halves of the CD are pretty much identical, suggesting that perhaps the Ramleh project had run its course. After another collection, Works III, and a final release of new material, 1997's Boeing, Mundy retired the Ramleh name.

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