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Standstill to Motion (Live at the Melkweg, 19-03-1981)

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Album Review

Nearly a decade after a fairly comprehensive reissue series, in 2012 LTM added one more release to the collective works of Minny Pops with Standstill to Motion, a combination CD and DVD covering the band's work live during its cusp-of-the-'80s existence. The CD itself comes from one live show straight through, at the Melkweg in Amsterdam in 1981. Beginning with the gently nervous pulse and stern guitar — and sometimes stern singing — of "Wong," the 15-song document exudes a compelling feeling even three decades out, when such a sound (post-punk, coldwave, call it what you will) was still something just strange and new enough instead of a well-worn pathway by so many bands down the line. "Trance" helps shift the tone from slow progression to clipped art-funk, with a performance that could measure up to erstwhile labelmates Section 25 at the same time; a dramatic, strong performance of "Kogel" and the focused throb of "Time" are other strong moments, a kind of Downtown 81 feeling on the other side of the Atlantic. "Island" provides a nice look back in contrast, with its glam rock rolling beat a merry contrast to the thick overlay of guitar and singing not otherwise changing at all from the rest of the set. An instrumental like "Mountain" retains the same feeling of focused, glowering power, at once catchy and, if not forbidding, then agreeably mysterious — and to have it followed up with the catchy skip-start of "Blue Roses"'s beatbox is an amusing touch. The accompanying DVD covers both Dutch and New York shows from the same general time period, the perfect complement to the CD while not replicating the show itself.


Formed: 1978 in Amsterdam, Holland

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '10s

Often stern, occasionally humorous, sometimes both at once, Dutch post-punk experimentalists Minny Pops formed in Amsterdam in 1978. They made their recorded debut the following year on Plurex, a label operated by band vocalist Wally Van Middendorp. The three-track 7" single contained "Kojak," on which Van Middendorp impersonated Telly Savalas' TV character of the same name with lines like "If you make more money, you make fewer friends." Drastic Measures, Drastic Movement, the band's debut album,...
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Standstill to Motion (Live at the Melkweg, 19-03-1981), Minny Pops
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