In the middle of 2023, there are still those who believe that post-punk boils down to a type of sound/aesthetic, which basically exists between the shades of gray of Joy Division and the black hole from which Bela Lugosi’s dark creatures keep coming out. But against facts, there are no arguments.
And the fact is that since the second half of the 1970s, in parallel with the punk insurgency, many people started to use the ‘do it yourself’ attitude to go beyond one, two, three, four and so on, under the immense guard -rains from that post-punk label, experimenting with dub, funk, jazz and whatever else came to mind. In this tune, 23 Skidoo appears.
Formed by ninja brothers Johnny and Alex Turnbull (martial arts masters, hence the joke) and Fritz Haamann, the band started following the aforementioned gray primer with “Ethics”, his first single, but soon the industrial/experimental influence of his countrymen/contemporaries Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire and co. and the black music of people like Fela Kuti, Miles Davis and the young American hip-hop would emerge, and the result of this musical Babylon is Seven songshis debut, from 1982.
Right away, with “Kundalini”, the effects of the mix between tribal rhythms and electronic beats of the skidoos are already noticeable; it’s a danceable track, obviously, but at the same time schizophrenic, with an endless number of interferences and noises, completely different from the funky and instrumental afrobeat of “Vegas el bandito”, which comes soon after. Then “Mary’s operation” comes on and you think: ‘
fuck, this is getting kind of creepy and illogical’.
Well, maybe these two words really serve to define the sound of Seven songs. There is no compass that guides the listener along its paths or a formula to easily decipher it (despite its percussive verve) and songs like “New testament” or “Porno base” – and their collages – are, at least, of give fear.
The version on the disc that runs here at PCP is the Japanese CD, from 2008, with some extras, including the 10 minutes of the unusual journey “The gospel comes to New Guinea”, released as a single in 1981 and already showing what the footprint is. from 23 Skidoo.
Discover or rediscover. And hold the trip!