‘Communications From The Bombshelter Volume 2 – Future Past’ is intended to showcase the future and past of Bombshelter Productions, a primarily New Wave and Synthpop label based out of Toronto in Ontario, Canada. Founded by Andreas Gregor and Dave Rout, the label recorded and/or released a variety of different genres ranging from Punk to New Wave, Industrial to Ambient, Hip Hop to Techno, Acid House to Experimental. In addition to running the label, Gregor and Rout were active musicians as well. EBM fans will recognize the duo as founding members of !BANG ELECTRONIKA. The duo of Gregor and Rout is also behind the New Wave/Synthpop act TECHNIQUES BERLIN.
The 7” vinyl ‘Communications From The Bombshelter Volume 2 – Future Past’ is limited to 300 numbered copies and is meant to help celebrate the 30-year anniversary of this small indie label. The A-Side of this release represents the “future” of the label. First up is THE BEAUTIFUL SPIES, a Candian Synthpop act consisting of David Rout and Dina Naskos. Their track “Bright Light” was first released in 2012 on the band’s self-released album ‘Just Fascination’. Boasting analog synths and drum machines, along with lush female vocals, this track has a delightfully retro feel to it.
The 2nd song on Side A is from AGENTS IN INFRARED, a solo project of Andreas Gregor. Gregor is drawing on the success and background of his time in TECHNIQUES BERLIN, but here he appears interested in carefully updating the sound, mixing vintage equipment with newer synthesizers and production techniques. The project is currently shopping for a label for its debut album ‘Tomorrow’s World’, and this compilation serves as the band’s first released material.
The B-Side of this compilation represents the “past” of Bombshelter Productions. The first song here is an old one from TECHNIQUES BERLIN “And You”, originally recorded in the summer of 1986 and presented here with a previously unreleased re-master from 2014. This is a high-energy danceable track. Like many tracks of its era you can detect the technological limitations of the time, but the end result is nonetheless instantly catchy. Featuring Andreas Gregor on vocals and synths, Dave Rout on synths and LinnDrum and Dale Hanlin on backing vocals.
Finally, the compilation concludes with “Dancing In Berlin” from METHODS OF DANCE. Recorded in the summer of 1986 as a side-project of TECHNIQUES BERLIN, this track was re-mastered in 2014 and is released here for the first time. If you’ve never heard of METHODS OF DANCE before, you’re forgiven. This is actually their first released track. Although the band has several hours of recorded material, none of it was ever released until now. Featuring Dave Rout on synths and drum machine and Dan Bell on synths.
All in all, this is a fascinating label retrospective, representing the scene of one little corner of the world. I would recommend it highly for fans of New Wave and Synthpop, particularly those interested in the Canadian scene. I enjoyed the A-Side especially. The songs from THE BEAUTIFUL SPIES and AGENS IN INFRARED are both great and have a universal appeal. The B-Side I was less enthused with. The TECHNIQUES BERLIN song is catchy, but to me it’s not really any better or worse than many other Synthpop songs of the era; it just didn’t capture my imagination. The METHODS OF DANCE instrumental track struck me as disposable for the most part, more of a curiosity than anything else.
To truly appreciate this release, perhaps you need to be more of a die-hard fan/collector of New Wave and Synthpop, which does not describe me. Or, since every track presented here features Andreas Gregor and/or Dave Rout, perhaps it’s geared mostly toward fans of Techniques Berlin. Regardless, I did enjoy listening and I can certainly appreciate the time and effort that went into compiling and curating the music presented here. Available from Storming The Base distribution.