Thursday, March 3, 2011

Mark Lane Selected Discography

Native Los Angelian Mark Lane was a pioneer in moody, minimal punk with synthesizers at the dawn of the sound's arrival in the early 80s. You can even say he was one of the very first to experiment with this style, utilizing tape splicing and drum machines/synthesizers with punky sounding bass lines. His debut album, Who's Really Listening? which is included in this collection today was released as an LP, but due to it's length, I'd say it's more of an EP in an LP disguise (correction: this was originally a mini-LP, but was reissued as a 12 song cd LP years later). It's only 6 tracks long, all within 4-6 minutes or around there - all dark and dreary, yet simultaneously upbeat. It's a fantastic album debut, especially songs such as the title track and "Sojourn" (featured below) which is a progressive, hard-hitting track that takes the listener on journey into the mind, as the title suggests. Hell, the whole album is solid and was a highly influential work. Lane himself was quoted as saying, "The people who liked it really loved it, [but] the people who hated it hated it.”

This dichotomy was largely in part due to his environment in LA, in which electronic music was headed in a completely different and polarized direction. The production was a huge step up from his fantastic and inventive lo-fi avant-minimal beginnings on the Love is so Aggravating 7" EP, which he used the aforementioned drum machine, synthesizer, and bass guitar combo, but recorded all at home on tape. The title track on that EP is a cult classic and the vinyl version of the EP itself is now a collector's item, going for absurd prices online.

In his personal life, Lane moved to Europe in the mid 80s where he collaborated with other like-minded musicians and continued pushing the limits of what could be done with available technology and admits feeling more at home over there than he ever did in the states. He later gave up on music to pursue a career in art and now makes his living as a talented painter of abstract Renaissance-style works. He now resides peacefully about an hour outside of LA on the pacific coast where he continues to make art and has recently released three (3!) new releases which celebrated his 25th music making anniversary. He also recently played a show at El Cid (I believe that's where it was, but my memory could be faulty) in LA, his first time performing in many years. Thus, in his third decade as a musician, his legacy lives on and for those avid fans of the genre his reputation precedes him - truly an influential part of the minimal wave movement.

Collection includes:

Love is so Aggravating 7" EP (1981)
The Reflection 7" Flexi (1981)
Who's Really Listening mini LP (1984)
Misc. tracks


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