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History of Mlehst

Uppdaterat: 12 sep. 2023

Question: What role did your early exposure to unconventional and industrial music play in shaping your artistic and musical interests, and how did it influence your desire to create music within the industrial subculture? Answer:

Hello, I am, was and will always be Mlehst. Here is some background. From a young age I hated Music and I hated school. I especially hated anything to do with classical music and music theory. So my eventual love of music developed from what you might call "improvisation" and listening to music that was/is outside what is socially acceptable. There are a couple of incidences from early childhood, first I received a sound effects cassette tape of "war" sounds, mostly radio transmissions, crackling, static, that sort of thing. I loved that tape. Another random time on a visit to family friends, during the visit the host played a tape of some weird electronic squealing which he had brought from his workplace (studio to do with sound production for tv and film), I can't remember how old I was probably less than ten years old, I only wondered why this old man was playing this shit when there were us kids in their house....... Fast forward to mid-eighties, I was given a tape of "psycho candy" by jamc, which was my first introduction of music that actually contained white noise and feedback as part of the music. At the same time I heard various styles of punk rock music, which at the time was "dead". The anti-authoritarian punk attitude and DIY aesthetic stayed with me into later life, even if the music did not. I became a searcher of music as most mainstream product was not interesting to my ears. Eventually I read about Nurse with Wound, Coil and Whitehouse. When I finally heard these bands I was confused how this could be music, but I stuck with it, rather than discarding the sounds as a novelty of some sort. Of course without knowing the history or roots and influences of these "industrial" bands, it was a shock to hear what was presented as music, and the sleeve art of the LPs was also shocking. Also this new (to me) music was an introduction in how to analyse sound, how to listen over and over in order to discover........something. Despite hating school I was interested in expressing myself through drawing and painting, and eventually went to college for a year to study art and design. Quickly I discovered that art college was not for me, but I met people who liked music, industrial music and psychedelic music. Suddenly I was introduced to the industrial subculture and it's recent history of throbbing gristle, CaberetVoltaire, non, coum, nocturnal emissions, synthesisers, and more unusual themes such as situationist, dada and surrealist art. This was a revelation to me and I wanted to create music in the same way, however I had no idea how. Whilst studying art and design at college in 1990, I met Si Johns and through him I met the local industrial scene characters, namely: Grant Newman who was an electronics whizz, always recording on his 4-track, he had an industrial noise cassette label named "cosmetic surgery tapes" (if I remember correctly) which he definitely sold but none seem to have survived to be unearthed and included in Discogs music database. He was also singer of the corridor (techno band). Ashley Marlowe, talented drummer, also made famous for being debagged and spanked at a Whitehouse gig. Member of the corridor (techno band). There were others too, they all seemed to work shifts in a chocolate factory in tonbridge, don't know if that was relevant to their love of throbbing Gristle/ psychic TV and industrial music or not. All four of us started a rock band, mostly psyche-tinged jams with added tapes and electronics. The band went nowhere. Through Grant I discovered impulse magazine and EST magazine, soft watch magazine, empty quarter magazine, some others I cant remember, but the main thing about all of this was writing directly to small labels and musicians, the do-it-yourself attitude, it was a great discovery for me. Grant also had all the Whitehouse LPs and knowledge of some of the more obscure bands like Ramleh. I spent weeks and months away from home staying on peoples sofas in the tonbridge area, sometimes weird stuff happened, one time I was walking down a random street with Si, who suddenly exclaims "look it's Jerome from Ramleh" and lo and behold it was, and we ran over the street to catch him up and talk to the obscure power electronics hero! At this point Jerome was out of the music scene and did not want to talk about Ramleh at all, "it was something in the air at the time" were amongst his cryptic replies. I moved on socially after leaving college, and didnt return to Tonbridge until 2006 when local band Sutcliffe Jugend reformed and played in a small club, the building had been converted from public toilets to a music venue! Prurient played as support and before the gig both projects were recording their collaboration album "end of autumn" on the stage which I witnessed some of. That's enough about that now. Question: What role did These Records, a seemingly hidden and unconventional music shop in London, play in shaping your musical tastes and preferences, and how did the detailed descriptions in their catalog influence your music exploration? Answer: When it comes to musical influences the mail order and London shop These Records played a major part in where I purchased music in the mid 90s. I visited the shop when it was based in Wandsworth,a run down and somewhat sketchy area in south west London , I could not find the place for ages, no sign, no street number, where is this shop?

On closer inspection of a building that appeared to be derelict, I see a small sticker with “these records” and an arrow pointing to a doorbell, rang the doorbell, a face appeared at the door, I was allowed to enter. I think the first items I bought were Hafler trio “dislocation” cassette and the Stock,hausen and Walkman “giving up” cassette.

These Records produced a catalogue which had lengthy descriptions of each of the albums that they sold and distributed, each description was intriguing enough by itself to delve always deeper…

Bernard parmegiani “de naturum sonorum”

The nature of sound, an interesting collection of electronically processed acoustic musical interventions? A great listen, despite being a serious music album. roll neck jumpers, beards and pipes? Forget that stuff, just immerse in some semi-minimal resonance and high pitched squealing and the interactions between sounds.

Pierre Henry la ville, die stadt

I have owned and listened to many Henry albums, each has its own merits of genius, “la ville, die stadt” is very cinematic, almost an audio document of a film but without the film. Lots of location recordings.

Michael prime fructification

Field recordings and electronics, bought cheaply, flimsiest piece of vinyl, yet the sound quality is amazing, not much else to say, my favourite of all recordings of this artist

Nww gyllenskold /spiral insana / merzbildschwet / soliloquy /psilotripitaka

The late 1970s to late 1980s period of NWW is pure gold for many reasons. I lost interest after “creakiness ” as the genius of SS got diluted and more lazy.

Spiral insana is the most influential of the golden age of NWW for me, it is not my favourite NWW album as such, but it covers a lot of source sound, emotion in its scope.

Whitehouse cream of the second coming

Zanesi stop l’horizon

Recommended to me on one of my many visits to These when the shop moved to Brook Drive, around 1997 or so, I was listening more and more to releases from the INAGRM label, generally the production values were higher than I liked to listen to and the sounds more polished, however “stop l’horizon” overcomes this by sheer force of the sound, sure it’s academic music, but a great well balanced listen.

Hafler trio how to reform mankind / dislocation / all that rises must converge

Despite buying the “dislocation” cassette I never really listened to it all the way through for a long, long time. I really couldn’t understand what I was listening to. After a few years though I did finally listen and understand, it took maybe ten or so complete plays to appreciate the juxtaposition of field recordings and electronic synthetic sounds, and above all the appreciation of sound as musical experience.

On my next visit to These, I ask, what Hafler trio do you recommend?

How to reform mankind is the best of a recent trilogy, I am told, get that.

So I do, also the negentropy LP, which had a gold painted LP sleeve. The gold paint was not bonded to the LP sleeve very well though and was replaced by fingerprints unless very careful! Back to “how to reform mankind”, I was mystified once again, deep piano rumblings, abstract synth and heavy electronics mixed together, what a collection. This album took a few listens to make sense, but still comes across fresh today. After this I delved into the entire Hafler trio back catalogue, obsessing over each album. I never read any of Andrew Mackenzie’s writings that accompanied each album, far too obscure for me to follow, however the music, for me, was enough of an experience for me. I was amazed that some of the earlier Hafler Trio albums had a similar construction and feel to some of the Mlehst albums.

Zoviet France

Loh land and shouting at the ground, both great albums introduced to me by Andy Gaskill, who played on some early Mlehst albums. Urban looping, desolate soundscapes, slight ethnic music feel? Not a major influence, but an influence non the less

Cinema for the ears 3”Cd series metamkine

Walter ruttman- amazing early collage of noisy field recording

Luc Ferrari - unheimlich schone

Throbbing gristle slug bait

Roger Doyle the ninth set

Around 2009/2010 I discovered the die stadt label and mail order, based in Germany, it with the similar mix of products once found in the now long closed These Records shop.

I had never heard of Roger Doyle, except from his early work with United Dairies label, I bought “the ninth set” on a whim.

The opening track had me hooked immediately with huge waves of heavily processed crashing gothic synthetic noise, for me at this time this was incredibly forward looking music with exquisite production values.

I wasn’t yet able to emulate this style of fully electronic sounding acousmatic music, but eventually it’s otherworldly filmic style would also enter the Mlehst ouvre.

C m Von haiswollf operation of spirit communication

Around the 2005-2010 period I was exploring drone music a lot, my attention span was becoming too short for the faster cut-up musique concrete style of music. I re-embraced classic drone albums such as “soliloquy for Lilith” by Nurse With Wound, and discovered older artists such as Elaine radigue. I’m not sure how I stumbled upon CM von Hausswollf, possibly through Die Stadt, I collected as much as I could find, mostly on CD. “Operation of Spirit communication” is the best I have heard of cmvh, perfect on vinyl, everything is just right about this album, from the gatefold sleeve, clear vinyl and flawless sine drone.

Dance music deconstructed

Rlw eyes 7”

Faust tapes

Residents meet the


Suttclife jug end


Luv Ferrari pressure rien

To be continued.

Javier Rieras (Industria masoquista) copy of the cassette: a story from my body

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