25 October 2019 / CD; vinyl; book edition / Minimal Compact (mc01)
Formed in Amsterdam in 1980, Minimal Compact were part of the original post-punk explosion – and remain one of its most distinctive voices. The band developed a unique mix of propulsive rhythms, spacious bass lines, rich keyboard textures, mesmeric guitar lines, and vocal melodies with a Middle-Eastern inflection. They sounded like nothing that had gone before.
Minimal Compact consists of five very different and distinct personalities: Berry Sakharof (guitars/ keyboards/vocals); Malka Spigel (bass/keyboards/vocals); Samy Birnbach aka DJ Morpheus (vocals); Rami Fortis (guitar/vocals); and Max Franken (drums). Together they released several ground-breaking and influential albums, including Deadly Weapons (1984) – which spawned club hit ‘Next One Is Real’ – and their most commercial album, Raging Souls (1985).
The band performed all around the world, from Poland to Japan, and gained a reputation for energetic, unpredictable, intense shows. However, their studio recordings seldom snared the majesty and power of the live gigs.
Now Minimal Compact have reconvened, together with producer and long-time collaborator Colin Newman (of post-punk legends Wire), to finally capture their music in its true brilliance.
Several of the band’s signature songs have been re-recorded using a mix of live recordings and studio tooled performances. The result is an album that radiates vitality and sheer class. Highlights include live favourite ‘Statik Dancin’’ with its barbed hooks, fidgeting energy and irresistible groove. Meanwhile, the bright, tender optimism of ‘My Will’ is especially moving, with Spigel’s wide-eyed vocal at the fore. At the other end of the spectrum is ‘Take Me Away’, with its tightly coiled hypnotic guitar lines edging towards mania.
Minimal Compact originally parted company in 1988. But during their absence, their influence grew and grew. By the time they returned for a handful of sell-out shows in 2004 they had been recognised as inspirational originators. They have reunited for live gigs just a few times since then, each performance serving to add to their legacy.
With more live shows coming up, Creation is Perfect is a timely reminder of what an essential and forward-thinking unit Minimal Compact are. You may be familiar with these songs, but you’ve never heard them sound as strong as this before.
And, perhaps most intriguing of all, the album climaxes with a brand new song, ‘Holy Roller’. With its gliding melody and refrain of ‘I disconnect myself, yet the party’s going on’, this composition showcases Minimal Compact’s unique ability to create a soundworld where conflict and harmony can coexist.
When Minimal Compact are apart, the various members are restlessly creative. They release solo albums, have art exhibitions, present radio shows, collaborate with other artists, DJ, tour, run record labels, and appear on TV. But when those five individuals get back together, something magical happens – and it’s happening again.
Creation is Perfect is an album of power and depth that demands repeated plays. Crackling with energy and immediacy, this is the sound of a band reaching a new level of creativity.