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Materia Prima

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Album Review

Materia Prima is a recording compiled from soundtracks used in various European performances of 1986, 1988, and 1989. Specifically, this music consists of live performances from the Materia Prima tour across Europe (1988-1989) and The Unacceptable Face of Freedom, performed in London in 1986. This is among the most sparse and sublime of any Test Dept. material available, yet it retains its power to convince and enthrall. The uncluttered soundscapes are superb. This Invisible release is the domestic U.S. reissue of the live performances. The unique, eerie sounds on these recordings are due to minimalist tribal instrumentation and the group's signature hand-built percussion. Pipe, didgeridoo, and ethnic drums appear throughout. Lacking the frenzy of other works, this album relies on subtle and understated percussion.


Formed: 1982 in London, England

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '80s, '90s

More expressly political than their German counterparts Einstürzende Neubauten, Test Department followed the same tack: A creative use of the ethos in which diverse objects (including large amounts of scrap metal and power tools) can be used as instruments. Formed in London's New Cross in 1982 by Alistair Adams, Graham Cunningham, Tony Cudlip, Gus Ferguson and Paul Jamrozy, the quintet became renowned for the staging of huge multimedia events at obscure venues -- a railway works in Glasgow, a sand...
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Materia Prima, Test Dept
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