80sObscurities: Cooler Than Thou, Dig It?

So here’s some rivet head history you might find interesting, particularly for fans of Vancouver/scene bastions Skinny Puppy.

In the mid-80s, John Hood was a well-known doorman and party promoter in the apex era of New York City club life. Before he would contribute to the soundtrack of director Beth B.‘s 1987 cult classic film Salvation! – which famously also includes tracks from New Order and Cabaret Voltaire – his The Hood dance project debuted with the “Cooler Than Thou” 12″ in 1985.

A minor hit in the danceterias of the day, the track was programmed by New York (via Switzerland) producer Roli Mosimann, himself best known for his involvement in art noise project The Swans. Shortly after this release, Mosimann would also co-found the Wiseblood project with erstwhile industrialist J.G. Thirwell (Foetus).

Future involvements would include contributions to The The and That Petrol Emotion, but Molimann is also famously linked to our central characters: Skinny Puppy. The artist/engineer was initially pegged to produce the band’s notoriously difficult 1995 opus “The Process.” Unfortunately – or perhaps not, depending on your perspective – Mosimann was never able to command creative control of vocalist Ogre and the band eventually lost confidence in his ability to complete the job and he was replaced  by long-time collaborator Dave “Rave” Ogilvie.

 

The Hood Puppy Story

Perhaps the most interesting part of the story, however, is the striking similarity between Mosimann/The Hood’s “Cooler Than Thou” and Puppy’s popular “Dig It”, released a year apart. I’ve mixed them up for you, so you can judge for yourself.

Another instance that proves that truth is often stranger than fiction.

Beats for Bodylab: Rexx to Feature Classics Set in NYC in September

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NYC old school EBM beat factory BODYLAB returns to Nublu (62 Avenue C, Lower East Side) on Friday September 22nd. Rexx will join erstwhile NYC industrial artist DJ EISDRIVER, event host and resident DJ. In honor of the party’s one year anniversary, Arkana will spin an exclusive set showcasing tracks from the “Your Alltime Classixx Collection” from Germany’s Infacted Recordings, curated by ex-Zoth Ommog-er and Lights of Euphoria mastermind Torben Schmidt. Entry is $5 at the door/21+ only.

Visit the BODYLAB Facebook group for more information.

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Rexx Mixes It Up for I Die: You Die

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From the I Die: You Die site:

“For this month’s So Fragile mixtape, we tapped one of the most knowledgeable and deeply rooted scene DJs we know, Rexx Arkana. You may know him as the singer from FGFC820, the driving force behind millennial supergroup Bruderschaft or from his new project with Eric Eldredge, Coldkill (whose debut album Distance by Design we recently reviewed), but before any of that he was DJing in alternative clubs across the globe. On this installment of So Fragile, Rexx brings his deep knowledge of new wave, ebm and synthpop, with a sprinkling of alternative classics to round things out.

Stream the mix below, and check out Rexx on stage with FGFC820 this year, culminating with a show at DB21 in Los Angeles this October!

Tracklisting:
Camouflage, “That Smiling Face”
Savage, “Only You”
Flexx, “Love Theme from Flexxy-Ball (You’ll Never Change No More)”
Sign System, “Stay With Me”
The Thompson Twins, “The Gap (Rexxtended Mix by Rexx Arkana)”
A Split Second, “Muscle Machine”
The Hunger, “Shoot to Kill”
Boys from Brazil, “We Don’t Need No WW III (Razormaid Mix)”
Dirty Harry, “D Bop (Razormaid Mix)”
Gary Clail & On-U Sound System, “Human Nature”
The Swains, “Don’t Call Us”
Consolidated (ft. The Yeastie Girlz), “You Suck”
Stereo MCs, “Connected”

I Die: You Die Digs Into Distance

Leading electronic music webzine I Die: You Diecoldkill_dxd_cover  has taken on “Distance by Design”, the debut full length from Arkana’s latest collaboration Coldkill, in this extensive album review.

“(Distance by Design) has more than enough flourishes from other retro-minded synth stylings as well as its members’ other projects to latch onto listeners who aren’t already immersed in the genre.”

“Indeed, no good melody goes to waste here, with the choruses of numerous tracks presaged in the attendant introductions and verses… That sort of pop songcraft abounds here, speaking to the project’s excellent grasp of what made the classic records that inspired them so memorable in the first place.”

Visit I Die: You Die for the complete review, then pick up your own copy of “Distance by Design”, available now in digital or limited vinyl editions from your favorite music retailer or directly from COP International.

Coldkill: “Distance By Design” Debuts

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Nearly two years in the making, out today is “Distance by Design”, the full length debut from Rexx Arkana’s latest offering, Coldkill. Collaborating with friend and fellow New Yorker Eric Eldredge of futurepop outfit Interface, the project pays homage to the melodic melancholia of the minimal wave of the artists’ teen years growing up in the 80s.

Cited by Arkana as “without doubt…the most intensely personal – and difficult – material I’ve ever written,” “DxD” reaches the darkest corners of a defeated spirit. As the band suggests, it’s “a litany of love songs for the love lost.” The album and its singles have already earned impressive accolades from scene historians Alex Reed (“Assimilate”) and Andi Harriman (“Some Wore Leather…”) and a rave review from Adam at amodelofcontrol.com

Available now in digital or limited vinyl editions from your favorite music retailer or directly from COP International.

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Get Rocky Mountain High with DJ Rexx Arkana

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Since I had so much time recording the Francisco set (available to stream on Mixcloud and to download on Bandcamp), and because I can’t seem to stop buying vinyl, I’m pleased to present my newest mix, Denver.

Like its predecessor, this latest mix is inspired by a recent trip to the Mile High City and includes selections from vinyl buys at both Twist & Shout and the legendary original Wax Trax! Records location.

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Denver runs the gamut from 80s obscurities to freestyle to contemporary synth and pop, featuring both archival acts like Annie Anner and Atelier Folie and new scene stars such as Hurts and Empathy Test.

off: step by step
annie anner: night in the city
hurts: better than love
atelier folie: leave me alone
synthgo: let me hear your heartbeat
cause & effect: you think you know her
breakfast club: right on track
real life: god tonight
red flag: give me your hand
i start counting: lose him
timmy t: what will i do
jaydee: plastic dreams
empathy test: here is the place (thomas datt remix)

It’s an hour+ of audio ecstasy for your ears, courtesy of Haus Arkana and your DJ Rexx. Enjoy.