Psychic Warriors ov Gaia – 1989 (Sacred Summits, August 2015)

Bloody brilliant, criminally underheard but long-legendary 1989 release out on Sacred Summits. Embedded deep in the Dutch techno scene, the Tilburg collective Psychic Warriors ov Gaia put out this now super-rare tape as a demo on Katharos Foundation in 1989. Also a collective, Katharos was one of the short-lived but very very splendid discographic hubs which picked up the glowing early 1980s Dutch baton of fusing dance culture and industrial culture in the most elegant and intelligent of ways. Although labeled varyingly as tribal and EBM at the time, this first tape – now sparsely and evocatively titled 1989 – is what I would label as a kind of ‘industrial carnival’, which shares part of its substance with tribal techno, but also with romantic noise, with early house, with lo-fi experimental new beat, in an astonishingly varied and accomplished range of impressions.

Opening on the heady beat of “Acid Dervish”, orientalism and car horns over slamming metallic rhythms, the tape leads us through a hedonistic way out of bleak post-industrial Tilburg marked by cowbells, out of breath breaths, and what sound like the trumpeting of an elephant call. “War Chant” is an obsessive, liberating saga of dubbed childish voices on a tribal but cold beat and “Intoxication” closes proceedings on two lovely synth lines, one fat and wet, one thin and eerie, ending a rough, buzzy, lo-fi maximalist record on a note of haunting beauty. 1989 will be a transporting listen for anyone interested in the evolution of dance culture, and it’ll keep you dancing, with African beats layered over factory beats, and instructions delivered in broken American English. This little tape is either the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end: ‘get yourself completely out of it’.