nedjelja, 23. rujna 2012.

Ike Yard - Ike Yard (1982) + Nord (2010)


Ponovna izdanja ikone No Wavea i njihov novi album Nord
Prototipski tehno-punk destiliran u kiselom trbuhu New Yorka. Paranoične urbane distopije, mrak proboden na ulici još oštrijim mrakom.


Ike Yard, Nord

Twenty eight years after their seminal eponymous debut (and only LP), New York's Ike Yard return with a shockingly impressive new album. Now pared down to a trio of original members, Stuart Argabright, Kenneth Compton, and Michael Diekmann (who recently turned up as B Lan 3 with a brilliant LP on Asthmatic Kitty's Library Catalog Music Series), they're still in possession of an unquestionably minimal, menacing and beautifully dystopian sound, the sort of blanketed darkness one can genuinely become immersed in. From the outset 'Nord' is as bleak as a north Manchester skyline, the furtive first track 'Traffickers' scanning the darkness with radar bleeps and distant bass hits while the atmospheres become increasingly tense, claggy and inimitably cinematic. 'Miral' shares an MCR/NYC sense of pessimism, pointillist drum machines are set with coldest warehouse reverbs and ghoulish synths bluster around Kenny Compton's signature, unsettling vocals. From the dank cadence of 'Masochistic' inwards, don't expect this to get much more positive. OK, there's some moments which could be construed as ambiguous in the folk guitars of 'Metallic Blank' and the Nico-esque vocal melody of 'Beautifully Terrible', but 'Type N' brings us back to grizzled street scene futurism, where nervous drum machines twitch while fetid synth ambience closes in and we retreat into the proto-Autonomic sound of 'Citiesglit', ending up shivering, burned out and f**king harrowed by the side effects of 'Orange Tom'. ESSENTIAL purchase!!!- boomkat
Ike Yard have a new album out on Desire Records. It’s called Nord.
The New York trio were one of the most original and downright brilliant bands to emerge from the Stateside post-punk explosion, and the artistic achievements of their slender catalogue arguably outweigh those of many of their more prolific and famous no wave brethren.
Formed in 1981, they released their flawless self-titled debut album (often erroneously called A Fact A Second on account of the oversized catalogue number on its sleeve) on Factory Records’ shortlived Factory America imprint, and a 12″ single on Les Disques Du Crépuscule, before disbanding in 1983. The vinyl was never repressed, and original copies quickly became impossible to find for sensible sums; it wasn’t until 2006 that their work was anthologised, on Acute Records’ essential 1980-82 Collected CD.
The band owed a substantial debt to the hypnotic grooves of German acts like Can and Neu!, but members Kenny Compton, Stuart Argabright and Michael Diekmann drained away all trace of psychedelic excess from their own propulsive, rigorously minimalist tracks; the resulting music prompted comparisons with Throbbing Gristle, Suicide and Cabaret Voltaire. Ike Yard actually played a show with Suicide and 13:13 (Lydia Lunch) at Maxwell’s, one of three legendary live performances in New York (the others were with New Order and Section 25 at Ukrainian National Home and Peppermint Lounge respectively).
After the band split, Argabright went to West Berlin, where he worked with members of Malaria, DAF and Liaisons Dangereuses, and also collaborated with Claudia Summers and Kenneth Lockie as Dominatrix (yes, the group behind future-proof synth-pop banger ‘The Dominatrix Sleeps Tonight’). Then silence, more or less…until 2006, and the completely unexpected release of new material on Phisteria Records. Öst found the band as sharp and uncompromising as ever, though an accompanying press release caused some consternation by wrongly claiming that Kode9 had called Ike Yard “the first dubstep band”. He might not have said it, but there’s some truth to the sentiment – the stripped arrangements and tonal vocabulary of a track like ‘NCR’ certainly anticipate both dubstep and its textural sibling, minimal techno.
The resurgent ‘Yard have now recorded a brand new studio album, Nord - their first in 26 years. It was recorded with producer Paul Geluso in New York, and is apparently inspired by their exhaustive travels around Europe and Japan. The CD was released back in July on Desire Records; digital and vinyl editions will be issued before 2011 is out. European tour dates are also expected to be announced in the near future. Oh, and the group recently made their dub/techno connection explicit with a remix of Vladislav Delay’s Sistol project. Ike Yard are back, and they’re very welcome.
To find out more about the band, read a fascinating in-depth interview with Stuart Argabright here; more info on Nord can be found here. - Fact Magazine

 IKE YARD - Ike Yard image

Ike Yard, Ike Yard

At long last, Ike Yard's seminal, influential album of post-punk minimalism originally released by Factory America is given the faithful reissue treatment. It coincides with the group's first ever European tour and marks thirty years since they first swapped guitars and drums for machines and synths to make Factory Records' 1st and only LP release on their American sub-label. In the time since, 'Ike Yard' - or 'A Second' as it's often, erroneously referred to - has been hailed as a touchstone by a wealth of artists ranging from Raime to Regis and The Soft Moon and many more besides, but save for Acute Records' killer '1980-82 Collected' compilation, they've been sorely neglected by the reissue machine. Anyway, the cream always rises to the surface and here we have it, six tracks of brutally reduced, paranoid urban dystopia, distilled in the belly of downtown New York from the finest influences - Joy Division, PiL, DAF, Can - by an inspirational gang of prototypical techno-punk provocateurs. It's peerless material, from the stoic funk of 'M Kurtz' to the roiling synth tang of 'Loss' (sound much like classic Regis, anyone?) to the numbed, grooving sensuality of 'NCR', the tribal darkness of 'Kino' or the spare, skeletal swerve of 'Half A God', laying a template for efficient, economical machine funk that we can clearly hear adopted in minimal D&B, in tonnes of the best Industrial and the most knowing Berlin techno - whether the producers know it or not. But while Ike Yard might have been out of the spotlight as a proper entity since they disbanded in 1983 (and returned last year with 'Nord'), its members have been far from inactive: Stuart Argabright has left an illustrious trail of classics with his legendary electro record as Dominatrix, and as Death Comet Crew with Rammellzee for Mike Simonetti's Troubleman, and especially with his mighty Black Rain output, which turned up on Blackest Ever Black earlier this year, while Michael Diekmann knocked out a real ace on his 'Music For Hunting And Mapping' LP alongside his duties in Death Comet Crew and Fred Szymanski has cropped up on various projects. Simply, it's safe to say that this record is what you'd call an essential part of any techno/post punk/wave fancier's collection. - boomkat

Ike Yard: Debut Reissued & Remix 12"

Factory-signed New York post-punk/no-wave crew to reissue 1982 self-titled LP, plus 12" with remixes by Regis and Monoton

Desire and Blackest Ever Black have announced the collaborative release of a remixes 12" of tracks by Factory-signed post-punk/no-wave group Ike Yard. It features reworks by UK techno legend Regis and Monoton - the former tackles 'Loss', and the latter offers a dub mix of 'NCR'.
The 12" arrives in advance of Desire's full reissue of Ike Yard's excellent self-titled debut LP, which was originally released through Factory America in 1982. That original incarnation was short-lived. Ike Yard formed in New York in 1979, and recorded a single album of brittle electronic funk for Factory before splitting in 1983, less than a year after the album's release. However, three of the original four members - Stuart Argabright, Kenneth Compton and Michael Diekmann - reformed the group in 2007, and since released a second album, entitled Nord.
In the interim period, Argabright kept busy as half of Black Rain, whose Now I'm Just A Number reissue - which arrived through Blackest Ever Black earlier this year - helped turn attention back onto Ike Yard's work. The reissue of their debut, then, comes at an appropriate time, when Blackest Ever Black's release schedule and the music of a host of new industrial/post-punk-influenced electronic acts have picked up where they and their contemporaries left off.
"We had this new technology and so looking back we were really forging our own version of techno, but we never wanted to use those straight beats," said Argabright of Ike Yard's sound, when we interviewed him earlier this year. "It became our hallmark, our rhythms, it's been said, were always off-kilter. We were just doing our own beats, and we were never going to do anything like what we'd heard - for example disco music, which I had a big emotional reaction to. I could enjoy disco music as party music, but as culture, either moving forwards into the future or even in the present, I couldn't really get with it. So we were very careful to try to just do our own thing." - The Quietus , August 13th, 2012


IKE YARD - 1980-82 Collected image

Ike Yard, 1980-82 Collected

I can't say I've ever heard Ike Yard before a recent flurry of interest on some key blogs I've been reading, but thankfully Acute records have packaged up their modest output into one easy package for those like me who need desperately to be educated on this evidently important act. Formed in 1980 in New York City, the band were heavily influenced by the local no-wave scene but also took their cues from 70s Kraut rock pioneers Can and Neu! Building a sound which was one part Joy Division and one part looping Kraut textures, with a bleakness and an overt experimental outlook which set them into a place of their own very quickly. The first six tracks are from the band's debut EP 'Night After Night' and are easily the most out and out 'commercial' tracks on the compilation, ranging from dark vocal post-pop ('Night After Night') to distorted drums, bass and drone ('Infra-ton'). With this EP the band showed that they were a force to be reckoned with, and while the songs have obvious connections to various musical genres, bands and artists, the band had started to sound like nobody else I can bring to mind. The next six tracks on the compilation are taken from their Factory Records released self-titled album and surprisingly take their sound into a totally different and shockingly experimental direction. The no-wave punk songs are disposed of, the drums are replaced by machines, guitars are swapped for synthesizers and vocals are mostly processed through masses of effects. Obviously this wasn't a commercially sound move, but these 'songs' really seem to be the stuff of electronic legend, bringing to mind the darker moments of John Foxx or the more experimental (and less bombastic) end of the EBM scene. I would almost say that many of the tracks exhibit proto-acid qualities as looped step-sequenced synthesizers squelch behind echoing drum machines... there's definitely a hint of Richie Hawtin's Plastikman albums in there somewhere, I'm sure I'm not imagining it! The compilation is neatly rounded off with a handful of unreleased rarities making the disc pretty much indispensable for old fans and new converts alike. Ike Yard deserve some extra exposure and this collection of tracks shows just how pioneering the band were - if you want to hear some really jaw dropping experimental rock music, then here it is... they just don't make 'em like this anymore. - boomkat

The NYC-based art rock collective Ike Yard emerged during the waning days of the No Wave movement, eventually becoming most noteworthy for being the first American group signed to Factory Records and for the fact that bass player Kenneth Compton reportedly once dated Madonna. But now-- as part of an ongoing mission to illuminate all the dark, neglected corners of the post-punk era-- Acute Records presents Ike Yard 1980-82 Collected. This comprehensive overview includes Ike Yard's self-titled LP for Factory America, their earlier Night After Night EP, and a generous assortment of previously unreleased live and studio rarities. And though it would probably be inaccurate to declare Ike Yard's work to have been particularly influential, on this collection their music appears to have aged quite well, as many of their jittery, post-industrial rhythms closely anticipate the thuggish motions of contemporary acts like Black Dice or Liars.
Cribbing their name from a record sleeve in A Clockwork Orange, Ike Yard sculpted a doom-laden experimental sound that drew heavily upon first wave Krautrock (particularly Can and Faust) and the post-punk dub maneuvers of PiL and Joy Division. Unlike No Wave's many unschooled or self-taught musicians, however, Ike Yard's Michael Diekmann and Fred Szymanski both had an academic background in music, studying Stockhausen and modern composition at the McColl Studio of Electronic Music at Brown. It's perhaps due to these academic origins, then, that much of Ike Yard's work matches their sinuous, bass-heavy grooves with a rather dry, formalistic precision. This sense of clinical detachment is often accentuated by Stuart Argabright's clipped, semi-spoken vocals, his monochromatic announcements often struggling helplessly to compete against the dark music's forceful technological currents.
Recorded virtually live with few overdubs, the Night After Night EP was originally released on the Belgian label Les Disques du Crépuscule in 1981. At this time the group were experimenting with various instrumental line-ups, and beginning to incorporate early Roland and Korg MS-20 drum machines with Argabright's live scrap metal percussion. Combined with Compton's loping, dub-inflected bass lines, the interactive rhythms of tracks like opening "Night After Night" or the instrumental "Motiv" contain the echoes of Miles Davis' edgy 70s jazz-funk as well as Can's shapeshifting beat action. But tracks like the clattering, dissonant "Cherish" give a better hint at the direction Ike Yard would soon take, as their sound grew increasingly dependent upon the stark, alien textures of their modular analog electronics.
This evolution is apparent immediately on "M. Kurtz" and "Loss", the opening tracks from Ike Yard's 1982 Factory LP. On these later tracks, the music's cell structure is completely governed by the group's overlapping synthesized rhythms, with all other sonic and lyrical elements rooted in the tiny cracks between Ike Yard's densely compacted electronic pulsations. The Expressionist propulsion of "Kino" is shrouded by black veils of dense insect noise, while the aggressive minimalism of "Half a God" updates Suicide, with its lyrics ("We hear the drums again and fall back in step again") obedient to the music's martial gravity. One can only imagine what Madonna must have made of this onslaught.
According to Michael Diekmann's exhaustive liner notes, Ike Yard continued to write and record music at a ferocious pace following the release of their sole Factory album, but the group began to disintegrate before they could get the label interested in another release. This collection features four unreleased studio tracks, as well as an live track that was mixed live by New Order's Peter Hook while the two groups were on tour together. While these additional tracks do contain the occasional tantalizing song fragment or idea, they do little to improve upon the bulk of Ike Yard's slim discography, and will likely be only of interest to true diehards. Upon Ike Yard's dissolution in early 1983, the group's members went on to front various underground dance and hip-hop projects, but largely abandoned their collective's avant-garde techniques and innovations. And judging by the documents gathered on 1980-82 Collected, this would seem to be our small loss.- Matthew Murphy

IKE YARD - Öst image

First recordings in nearly three decades from this moody, cold electronic project, helmed by three original members, Stuart Argabright (Death Comet Crew, the Dominatrix), Kenny Compton and Michael Diekmann. Virtually nothing of their initial approach – best heard on their LP for Factory, or more likely a compilation released by the Acute label in 2006 – has changed in that time. Busy, pinging electronic percussion races through the night, while thick bass guitar, atmospheric synth and subdued, sometimes whispered vocals work to project insular, knowing visions of things to come. There’s a brief nod to house piano near the beginning of “Oshima Cassette” and some pulsating kick drum programming in “Citiesglit” that may not have been available to this group in their earlier days, but that seems to be the only concession the reunited outfit has made to acknowledge all that has occurred in music from 1983 to the present day. Then again, when you make music from the future, no one is going to challenge the notion of now or then; rather, we should be thinking of “soon.” Two new tracks and two remixes are featured here, both of those being a part of a dark ambient/evening blizzard variety that adds mood to the record, though I could have done with two more originals instead. Fans of latter-day dubstep-oriented outfits like Tin Man should flock to this. 250 numbered copies, and only available online through the label’s website. (
(Doug Mosurock)

Bleep Interviews Stuart Argabright (Ike Yard)


NYC, 1981 – Ike Yard, the vanguards of NYC’s ‘no-wave’ scene, released their debut EP and and an album followed shortly after. Their unique, ‘outsider’ approach to the primitive electronic style of post-punk elevated them to the cult status that they have today. We caught up with one of the band’s founder members, Stuart Argabright, who has recently reformed the band and released their second album, ‘Nord’.
BLEEP: Can you tell us about the genesis of Ike Yard? Alongside ESG, you were the only other American band to sign to Factory records. Can you tell us how this happened and what it was like to work with such a cult label?
Ike Yard came together after The Futants fell apart. We were all looking to do something next, found each other and grew rapidly from pre-recording drums on cassette or reel to reel to drum machines and a central MIDI controller.
During that time , we would get comments from other group’s about us ‘doing electronic music’ but after being invited by Suicide to do our first show with them and 13:13 @ Chase Park, Lydia [Lunch] asked us if we would be her backing band.
Once we felt ready and the first and only demo we mailed got picked up by Michel Duval @ Crepescule, we set about doing the “Night After Night” 12″ for them. Soon we were ‘on Factory Records America’, playing with Section 25 and New Order @ The Ukrainian National Home and dealing with the sound man there and at the Studio where we recorded the Factory album .
Tony Wilson popped in while we were tracking, we needed to educate the engineer there about recording our music and utilized some toys to get certain drum machine and perc. processing you can hear on say, “Loss”, “M Kurtz” and “Kino”. It was always a lot of work to prepare for shows, so each one was an evolution.
Someone at Maxwell’s commented one night that we sounded like “dinosaurs making love” – of course that was exactly our plan!
B: You’ve been involved in quite a few bands since Ike Yard began. Can you tell us about them?
Looking back – keeping on the move, literally sometimes without a home, while moving the music forward was a crazed challenge. But in the early ’80’s everything was exploding all around you and you wanted to dive into it all. So a pattern did emerge where Ike Yard, then Death Comet Crew formed and both recorded two records and then looked around to see any reaction, any label or energy that could entice us to continue. Sometimes no one asked for another release, sometimes things fell apart but when you are 24, you just move on.
Always a fan of pop music , after IY I left for W Berlin with the concept for doing the club track “The Dominatrix Sleeps Tonight”.
I had been involved with this dominatrix from some last days in Washington DC and once she moved up to NYC, the early morning hours spent in her Apt. set the scene for the Dom. project.
One night @ Dschungle with Christlo Haas and Blixa, Daniel Miller [Mute] came in and walked up to us with these young boys in tow – the soon to be leather and rubber-clad Depeche Mode! Very lucky to have such good friends who helped me survive in Berlin!
Once back in NYC fall of 1983, requests for productions started coming in and I found a new Studio partner to work with – Steve Breck who had worked with Kurtis Blow and The Fat Boys early records.
Together we worked on Dominatrix live tracks (we would do ‘track dates’ comprised of Iggy’s ‘Play It Safe’, ‘Mr. Dynamite’ and ‘Sleeps Tonight’ at clubs like The Copa, last days of Studio 54, Paradise Garage w/ Robert Gorl and Run DMC), programming new bits for DCC [Death Comet Crew] and eventually, the Voodooists project.
The club scene in NYC became diluted with yuppies, copycats and wankers, the feeling of it being a ‘hotbed’ ran down and out by ‘88 -’89.
I had began in punk rock, ‘little Iggy’ I was called in DC’s punk days when The Rudements were banned from The Atlantis Club and we recorded at the then – new Inner Ear Studios where Fugazi and all the DC hardcore went soon after .
So our reaction in ‘89 was to begin forming Black Rain and while finding the final members took a moment, we took things back to hardcore, post-punk combined with industrial. Gigged at Tompkins Sq. Park Anniversary of the riots there and fought the police with our metal perc. and oil drums through to opening for GG Allin’s final show on the LES.
So each of those groups and projects were different, pocket worlds and concepts we inhabited.
Parallel to all this was the development of large scale and tech intensive art projects as Robert Longo and Gretchen Bender’s de facto music director.
Between 1984 and 1989 we did so many things, and worked with artists like Sean Young from Blade Runner and Dune, Bill T Jones (’Fela’ on Broadway now ) and synth guitarist Chuck Hammer (’Ashes To Ashes’ by D Bowie). Thrilling to score and work with Robert and the Rotterdam Philharmonic alongside music by Arvo Part & P Glass in ‘88.
That’s how it ran in the 1980’s.
B: You’ve also worked and produced music for one of hip-hop’s more eccentric characters, the much-missed, Rammellzee. Can you tell us how you started working with him?
We met way back in W Berlin 1983 and DCC made the call for him to join us on “At The Marble Bar” (Beggar’s Banquet 12″ ‘84 ). Rammell rocked it live and we never looked back, continuing to work together through thick and thin, on and off until 2007.
He recorded with DCC and Black Rain culminating with the ‘Bi – Conicals Of The Rammellzee’ LP on Gomma in ‘03 and tracks on the new DCC album after the re-release and shows in Europe & Japan. The Rammellzee stood out in the underground talents pool that brought many things to light during the ’80’s and his legacy in art & sound will roll on.
B: What are your thoughts on hip-hop as it is now?
There was a moment where I found myself contacting Missy Elliot’s people because I just knew I had some bits for her, but quickly there after hip-hop as it was just paled. Got excited about K- Rob producing on an early Jay Z album , dug Timbaland like everyone but looking back, Aaliyah’s passing broke the period’s mood for me. These days I prefer to hear some Kuduro, Kuedo, Jamie Vex’d, Hud-Mo, Mike Slott or Tri Angle Records. Even DCC has moved on into other territories … Might be a little spoiled from working with Z !
B: You compiled the third, fantastic volume of Soul Jazz Records’ peerless ‘New York Noise’ series, which featured some of the most obscure and esoteric music of that period. Boris Policeband, Dark Day and Implog to name a but a few. Was the music that featured on this album part of your collection, or did you know the producers personally from the time?
We all used to do shows together, or at least hung out and knew each other from those days. Boris, Robin and Donny all had unique and hybrid things going on and that made it attractive. If light doesn’t reach some of these artists in these decades of ‘re-release’ , then it may never reach down to really under known creators. I guess it was natural for me though, I was there when it happened .
Many of my own releases have been pretty obscure – and that led me to form REC partly in order to re-release Voodooists and Black rain and more .
B: Ike Yard’s second album, ‘Nord’ has just been released. Why did Ike Yard decide to reform?
Gomma had started things rolling for us with their “Anti NY” comp. The dozens who knew of IY became hundreds and the tracks still sounded good. Once we reformed, toured and recorded new things with DCC, we (Michael Diekman and myself being in both groups) got together up in the New Hampshire mountains to jam. And once we found it did work, wet set about rejigging the Ike Yard machinery.
We had written close to another album after the Factory LP anyway, so there was some small feeling of, “hey, that stuff was great too”, and once that was released on the Acute comp – end of 2006 – the decks were clear to move forward again.
Kind of amazing to work with groups from 25 years ago, and find it can still spark. And for us, it’s been about the excitement of making the music, not about getting up to play your old songs and ‘looking back on the ’80’s’.
B: You’ve been working, recently, with a lot of new producers and there’s also a J.G. Ballard project that you are involved with. Can you tell us about these and what else you are doing musically at the moment?
After working with so many labels, and seeing and hearing so many artists come and go, one begins to develop an Innis mode -
a world and information scanning process. Antennae up in the breeze, anticipating what will work, what is just a face or fad and you just never know when super artists emerge out of the crowds. Now that IY, Dominatrix and DCC have been re-released and done with new works, there is an ever wider horizon of possible musics. Things that just need to happen, have to get done in order to go beyond the same beats, the same thinking.
So hard & soft Sci Fi has always had that appeal …
‘Ike Yard’- a name Anthony Burgess came up with for “A Clockwork Orange”
Death Comet Crew- originally Death Star Crew until [George] Lucas sent us a letter.
Calling up William Gibson in 1984 and beginning a collaboration that influenced that early trilogy and resulted in him asking us to do the soundtrack for ‘Neuromancer’ audio book.
Then Longo’s “Johnny Mnemonic”.
Once I was lucky enough to meet JG Ballard at a book signing and slipped him a cassette. Ex-Live Skull guitarist and synthesist Mark C and I were longtime devotees of the master author and had set about pulling things together to do what is now the JG Ballard nights project when he passed. There are so many ‘children of Ballard’ now all grown up around the planet and I see it as essential that his works live on for the current and next, next generations. So we have been collaborating with Judy Nylon, David Silver and WFMU here, with Jonny Mugwup and Manny Zambrano in London to keep a light on the man’s work…
Nov.6 our new group Outpost 13 brings the night to Porto where we will present for the first time the full Chapter One of Atrocity Exhibition along with Time, Memory And Inner Space. Live soundtracks and video films created with a lot of help from our friends Robert Longo, Adrian Altenhaus, Walter Cotten, Jennifer Jaffe and Patrick Quick among multi-talented others.
Building towards doing it in London and beyond in 2011…
Along similar lines, O 13 releases the ‘Vandal Tribes – Audio Movie EP’ on REC Nov.16 featuring the works of the new British author Luca Davis with big help again from Judy Nylon’s narration. This time our music guest is Jamie Vex’d.
Luca’s words make images we render in sound, he’s like a young [William] Burroughs, but tougher, rough as the end of a stick.
But in the neighborhood of those UK dystopian writers like Russell Hoban’s ‘Riddley Walker’, and the last two Margaret Atwood novels cross cut with boy’s adventure stories and flesh of faded society.
B: What’s next for Stuart Argabright and Ike Yard?
IY is into doing remixes these days – the new Metal Fire ‘Remake’ of the Sistol track on Cyan Halo is the first.
Somebody should also get us to remix the Factory Album. We transferred the tapes and they sit in my closet.
For my part, there are new clubby tracks underway for Nomi – former vocalist and focus for Hercules & Love P,
the Dystopians project EP with x Black rain master bassist Bones w/ guest guitarists Pete Jones & Norman Westberg on REC.
On this Europe tour in Nov. I will be writing and programming an album expanding on what we’ve seen in the last decade or so.
‘Solo’, new collaborations, soundscapes from the Phi Phi Islands before the tsunami and high Himalayas before the glacial lake behind Everest burst,
plus a return to club music because things have gotten a bit staid and stiffened.
I mean , our race had better get it’s *hit together, we have climbed out of the oceans and built a few times only to mess it all up again.
We’re not fucking around here.


by Electric Voice Records

NYC based Ike Yard crept up from the ashes of Post Punk to emerge on the forefront of the No Wave scene of the 1980s. Immediately notable for being one of the first American bands to sign with Factory Records, the band drew heavily on post punk influences as well as early krautrock to shape a unique sound that was ahead of their time.
The industrial/electronic outfit was quick to disband in 1983, leaving us with baited breath for 25 years. Now back together with the original lineup (sans Fred), Stuart Argabright, Michael Diekmann and Kenneth Compton were able to catch up with EV’s Courtney Rafuse to answer some questions. You’ll be seeing a new track from these guys on our next compilation, set to drop next Spring.

You guys are considered to be pioneers of post punk/no wave. Taking you back to 1979, did you have a feeling you were doing something innovative and exciting when Ike Yard began?
Stuart: Each session we did experiments generating pulses, and staying within certain parameters into works we could all feed into. Some of the most exciting times were simply the second or two after recording some unique combination of sounds.
Michael: Definitely – as soon as the four of us rehearsed together for the first time, I felt it that there were possibilities toward making music that reached beyond what was being done in NYC at the time. When we started, No Wave was essentially finished; I think that there was an influence particularly in regards to tearing the elements of rock and roll down to a molecular level and recombining them into something new, but with the energy of rock: post-rock I suppose.
Prior to our uniting as Ike Yard, there was already a desire on our parts to create something new; I had been a fan of Stuart’s prior band, the Futants, and stylistically, they were outside of what was happening in NYC at the time – and primarily being a synth and drums outfit, they were closer to what was happening in Europe. Also Fred Szymanski and I had come out of an academic electronic music background, and were pushing earlier that year to form a group that would draw from that experience. Members of Ike Yard were also fans of the Neue Deutsche Welle music of that period, and certainly the big 4 of German ‘70’s electronic music: Kraftwerk, Can, Neu and Cluster, as well as of Bowie/Eno’s Berlin period.
Being one of the first American groups to record for Factory Records, what was it like being part of such a prolific label so early on? How did the opportunity present itself?
Stuart: Michel Duval’s Belgian Crepsecule family were close with Factory and so it was after the Night After Night EP that we got word we could do a record for Factory Records America. Tony Wilson came by to visit as we recorded. He popped his head in as we were doing something in the control room.
Michael: As you might expect, we had been fans of Factory records from their inception; I was absolutely blown away by the two Joy Division songs on Factory’s initial release, the double 7” “A Factory Sampler.” Ike Yard had been picked up by the Belgian indie label Crepuscule for the “Night After Night” EP, a label we had discovered when they released the 7” of “Shack Up” by A Certain Ratio – in conjunction with Factory. I was also impressed with their 1980 compilation cassette, “From Brussels With Love,” which included an esoteric line-up and a surprising mixture of musical styles.
We sent a demo cassette to Crepuscule and a few months later we were recording the EP for them. That record was released in November of 1981
– the same time that New Order was scheduled to play their first big show in NYC since their initial foray as a trio in 1980, playing smaller venues like Tier 3 and Hurrah’s. We were tapped to open for them, which despite the technical issues, was an exhilarating experience. Again in February 1982 we were asked to open for Section 25 for two shows (The Peppermint Lounge in Manhattan and Maxwell’s in Hoboken, NJ). Soon after that we
were scheduled by Factory to record an LP on their new US label, Factory America. We worked with Michael Shamberg, the US rep, during this
period; Tony Wilson made a visit to the studio during the mixing sessions. We were finishing “Loss” when he arrived.
Do you have some vivid memories of playing with other Factory bands that really stand out?
Stuart: We are in the process of transferring old master tapes for the Factory album reissue. Last night, we found the tape that was of the show with New Order 11/81. The Factory NY – Blind Dates ( Ruth Polsky ) produced New Order / Ike Yard show was the first show at Ukrainian National Home. The group struggled with the sound – the soundman mixing the drum machine out during a piece. We improvised. The mix got better once Peter Hook stepped in to help. Michael and Kenneth have other memories of it too i’m sure.
Playing with Section 25 twice was good, the shows were hot. Someone said something after the Maxwells show about the group sounding like “dinosaurs having sex’”.
Michael: Of course, playing the show at the Ukrainian National Home with New Order in 1981 was significant, but we also really enjoyed the two
shows we did with Section 25 – an affable bunch of guys. The gigs were fun, and Ike Yard was pushing forward musically at that time, well beyond what we had played at the New Order show.
New York in the 80s was such an energetic cluster of excitement and inspiration. What was it like for you guys then?
Stuart: The period I’m thinking of – roughly end of 70′s to around 1984 was some kind of phase period – waves and explosion of subcultures into mainstream culture. Of course, built on all the works of so many from the years and decades before. Our world(s) expanded in many directions simultaneously. Kenneth and I were there the first nights at the Mudd Club, Tr3, and Danceteria 1 & 2. Nocturnal adventures leading to many late mornings home. We are grateful for all the help from everyone along the way … The band would jam down in Bradley & Kristian Hoffman’s $3 an hour rehearsal space downstairs on Grand Street and friends would stop by. We shared a room in the Music Building with Circus Mort for some months, with Madonna’s studio on the same floor a few doors away.
Michael: The downtown cultural scene was vibrant; the music and art worlds were changing rapidly then – and the rents were cheap. It seemed as if there was some event happening nearly every night – whether a gig, an opening, a film screening. We were all working in other media in addition to music at that time – as did many of our contemporaries.
Kenneth: I think that the period we were emerging from musically actually started in 75 or 76 with the punk rock scene which sort of heralded the end of the Big Rock Band era of the early 70s. The Damned, The Clash, the Sex pistols and others coming out of England. In NY, the New York Dolls, Blondie, Television, the Ramones. There was a big punk rock scene in NYC but everything was moving so fast and by 77 Punk was over and it was Talking Heads and the new wave scene. By the time we were recording our second record This intensely vibrant underground scene in NYC was already dissolving. After that it was the Hardcore era, Reaganism and yuppies. I know a lot of good music came out of the 80s but I feel we were most heavily influenced by the years leading up to that decade.
People are always so skeptical and judgmental when bands reform, worrying that it could never be the same. However, all of your recent efforts have been met with applause. Were you worried about the reactions after such a hiatus?
Stuart: While we didn’t ever talk about getting back together, once we did it was clear we could continue and possibly move forward.
We have been lucky, fortunate in the way things happened in zones where things flow.
Michael: We have our own standards, and if the music just wasn’t happening when we reformed, we wouldn’t have continued. We knew that we weren’t just going out to play the older material, but to push forward with new music – nonetheless, music that would meet the aesthetic criteria of what we would expect Ike Yard to produce based upon its history.
Kenneth: No. I think it was a fairly organic process. There was some talk about what Ike Yard might mean to other people and how diverging from that might not be what’s expected but ultimately we reformed to create new music. I think this next record actually feels even more “Ike Yard” than the last although its quite different from where we were 30 years ago. How could it not be?
Are you surprised to see how your early recordings have stood the test of time so well? I mean, ‘Loss’ (1982) still sounds so fresh.
Stuart: There is some surprise at being able to reissue the Factory album in 2012. Dan Selzer’s 2006 Acute release really put us on the map. And “Loss” is a piece we didn’t do many times – but born some techno variant that is up there with anything released in 1982. Every cut on that album had something — NCR, Half A God, Cherish 8!
Michael: By the time we recorded the Factory album, we had moved musically further away from post-punk into uncharted territory. In addition, we were working with newer technology (at the time) which forced us to focus on how this gear (drum machines, sequencers, synths, processing, etc.) interacted – which was quite different from playing traditional rock instruments – and therefore avoided many of the typical hierarchies or structures that those instruments generated. Also, we were familiar with contemporary non-rock experimental / electronic music, so we had an ear to what could be accomplished – and searched for the unexpected answers.
Kenneth: If you think Loss sounds fresh then check out the Regis remix out on vinyl.
25 years is a huge stretch of time. Your sounds and vocal stylings are quite different now. How would you say you’ve evolved as a band/individually since your debut EP in ’81 with Disque du Crepuscule to your 2011 release with Desire Records?
Stuart: We were together mainly between 1980 – 1982 , a lot happened in 2 years. Still experimenting with song forms, synthesis, electric guitar & bass, 3 or 4 basses running together, multiple beats. We are well into writing & programming for the 2013 album. This one draws from 1982 as I found unused lyrics for “Slaves Of Janet” and also “Go” that felt like they still resonated for use now . The sonic takes in past, present into future and is probably it’s own evolution. We will be playing the new songs on the upcoming fall UK & Europe tour.
Michael: First of all, we all continued to make music during that time, and I think we individually persisted to search for new sounds, new structures, new sensations, and to expand our knowledge.
Industrial, experimental, post-punk, jazz punk, drone, krautrock, primal funk, sci fi Miles Davis — Obviously all of the genres you get pinned with are open to interpretation.. But how would best describe your sound?
Stuart: Electro with intention, directions. I don’t see a lot of nostalgia in the sound. Each piece exploring what we could do. Trying to keep moving.
Michael: A list of contradictions: rarified yet expansive, searching yet certain of the consequences. Musically, it’s all about pushing the boundaries of rhythm and timbre.
Kenneth: I think its a unique sound. I can name a few obvious influences. Joy Division, DAF, Der Plan.
Electronic music has become so ubiquitous since the 80′s, spanning from punk to hip-hop. What are your thoughts on “electronic” music these days?
Stuart: It’s a flow. Fun to see artists like John Foxx enjoying his time. It wasn’t always easy to get equipment, set up and do ‘Electronic music’.
We have seen see the ‘means of production’ grow out of the hands of what used to be powerful ‘ Record Labels’ – that’s how you made records- you made a deal, you could go into The Studio.
Michael: The Brits and the Germans seem to be producing the most consistently interesting stuff: Raime, Shackleton, Demdike Stare, Monolake, although Tim Hecker places the Canadians in good company.
And finally, for fun, what are you guys listening to right now?
Stuart: Lately i’ve been immersed in finding artists to play with IY on the upcoming tour. Hearing Linea Aspera through a post by Jen Ellerson led us to ask them to join our first London show on 9/29. We have also been getting the Factory lp mixes back. The first two are Regis‘ striking new “Loss” version, then also Monoton’s dub, club and KB remixes.
Back in March, Xeno & Oaklander and IY both played this Fad Gadget /Frank Tovey event by Mute and Envoy where they did a great “Lady Shave”.
We play with them again 9/7 NYC. Luis & the Soft Moon stand way out and operate n their own zone. On rotation i’ve got Horrid Red , Demdike Stare , Tim Hecker , Kuedo . Goitia / Deitz Raime , Sandwell District , Pop ambient t/ Kompakt , Sakamoto, no tempo piano musics and Fin De Siecle.
Michael: I’ve been listening to the new Monolake CD “Ghosts”, the new Liars, “WIXIW”, Tim Hecker’s “Ravedeath 1972”, Stravinsky’s ballet “Agon” conducted by Tilson-Thomas, and an older ‘60’s trance music playlist I enjoy when traveling that includes Terry Riley’s “Rainbow in Curved Air”, John Fahey’s “A Raga Called Pat”, Alice Coltrane’s “Atomic Peace”, Gabor Szabo’s “Space’ and Andrew Hill’s “Judgement.”
Ike Yard perform in NYC this weekend with Xeno & Oaklander and Led Er Est, followed by a tour in Europe. They are also in the process of recording a new LP, more information to come in 2013…

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