Those out there who have chased limited editions of Color Tapes/Discs on Discogs will know how special the underground label was for the English 1980s, and how grateful we should be its founder Gary Ramon, who was also the mind behind some of the label’s bands. After the shockwave of the first Cold Waves of Color compilation, this second volume seems to pick at the label’s contours, selecting tracks that were perhaps less glaringly a manifesto but an equally important part of its work: here we get the rougher diamonds, the more sugary stuff, and more ‘difficult’ pieces.
Britishness is mentioned often in how these tracks are sold and talked about, but in a sense the glorious intuition of Color Tapes was to pick up some of the much more European undercurrents in British synth and connect them to other countries, scenes and situations. Listening to this record, you don’t hear what we know as the UK sound of synth, but a stranger and much more searching scene, unafraid of trying things out . The super-precious gems are the wonderful edit of WeR7’s “Masterful of Ceremonies”, the glorious and very long-sighted Purple Twilight Remix of the Space Brothers’ “Lodore” and the good old proper coldwave of “Experiment 1” and “2” by the excellent Lives of Angels. A cold, kitcheny, nocturnal kind of record, oppressive and dreamy in equal measures. Oh, and you get an A5 photocopied issue of the Purple Twilight fanzine from 1985!