Oppenheimer Analysis – New Mexico: The Complete Collection (Minimal Wave, May 2015)

Similarly to the Fridge Trax Plus reissue featured above, Minimal Wave’s New Mexico celebrates another birthday, and also marks the anniversary of a renaissance. In 2005, the label’s brilliant Oppenheimer Analysis 12’’ was one of the scintillas that sparked the cold wave resurgence, to the point that Oppenheimer themselves went from obscure tape band to underground superstars, and a load of new bands seemed to be inspired by the English duo’s work. Since that release, Veronica Vasicka has become a household name and the words ‘minimal wave’ now denote a genre. This complete collection is a fitting way to fete the event: the label, its work and followers have changed and grown enormously over the past ten years. It’s appropriate to return to the roots, and to also raise a glass to the sorely missed Martin Lloyd, who passed away in 2013.

The Complete Collection contains “New Mexico” as it was in 1982 when it was self-released on tape, minus the less inspired “Security Risk” but plus the lean “You Won’t Forget Me”. The tracks, though presented in glorious ‘deluxe nuclear-style black and white vinyl’, sound just as they did some 30 years ago: crisp, playful, icy, performative, smart, ironic. While most aficionados of 1980s synth will know this material off by heart, many will also feel a particular kind of shiver that accompanies the experience of giving these songs a deep listen. A kind of amazement arises at the pop perfection of the music and crystalline clairvoyance of the lyrics, at the serrated, cutting rhythms carried by round melodies and deeply paranoid lyrics. Glacial dance par excellence, Oppenheimer Analysis sound more political and prophetic every time they return. Troubadours for the age of surveillance.