Friday, September 30, 2011

Ipso Facto – Give it To Her EP (Zodiak Records, 1984)

This will be a short entry I suspect, given the almost complete dearth of information available on line. Research here is made doubly difficult by the emergence of the much more recent all girl outfit of the same name who inconveniently have been widely labeled  as “Goth”. (For the record, they’re not. But from what little I’ve heard, are not too bad either, and I suspect fans of Ladytron might find much to appreciate there).

Materialising out of Yorkshire, Ipso Facto had an ever-changing line-up revolving around their one constant member and vocalist Eb.

Their first release was the Mannequin 7” (IF, 1983) after which original bassist Ged Warren and some of the other early line up appear to have parted company and formed something called Sedition who released a solitary 12” The Mighty Device (Fon Records, 1986) which despite being produced by Cabaret Voltaire’s Richard Kirk, sadly didn’t really seem to get them anywhere.

Ipso Facto however, soldier on regardless, releasing their single biggest project, the Give it to Her EP/12” (Zodiak, 1984). Apparently only 500 copies of the original were pressed.

Somewhat oddly, and despite sheer weight of opinion being against them, the usually reliable has this release listed as “Life is a Cabaret – Is it?” presumably confused by the cover art on the album’s flipside. Still more confusingly, they appear to have the track listing in the wrong order despite it being printed very clearly on the front cover art. If only one had an original pressing to work out how on Earth they arrived at this conclusion.

The flip-side of Give It To Her. Eb didn't 
just do "vocals" - he did "words".

 It’s actually a quite engaging little record, despite what it lacks in the originality stakes. Curiously, the B side is actually stronger than the A side, although perhaps that’s simply my opinion. Although one can’t help but feel that Eb just really, really wanted to be the next Pete Murphy, it makes for a genuinely enjoyable disc. If you like Bauhaus, you'll like this. I Suggest you pick it up.

Give it to Her


Femme Etait Un Homme

Another two singles exist. There was the Noir Doir 7” (IF, 1984) and finally the Glass Tigers 7” (Zodiak Records, 1985). For a band so relatively obscure and about who so little online information is available, it seems quite remarkable that both the Give it to Her 12” and the Glass Tigers 7” are both readily available for download on iTunes. (Sweet Lord – did I really just give a plug to one of my most hated pieces of software?)

All this leaves us with one final mystery:
IF records apparently released just three pressings, the first two of which were the Ipso Facto 7”s Mannequin and Noir Doir. This and the label’s name may well lead those of a more suspicious mind to ponder whether the IF label was actually owned by Ipso Facto themselves. The real mystery here though comes with the enigmatic third pressing. It’s an untitled 7” (1985), allegedly from the Netherlands, and just to add to the oddness, the A & B sides were recorded at different speeds. Most interesting though, it comes from a band curiously titled In Formation (note the initials).  Did Eb actually do a little side project following Ipso Facto’s demise?

This warrants further investigation – we’ll get back to you.

Track Listing:
  1. Give it to Her
  2. Blue Angel
  3. Greta
  4. La Femme Etait Un Homme

Line Up: Eb Aneza(vocals), Vivienne (guitar), David Kane (bass), J. Fenn (drums), Steven Masters (saxophone)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ritual – Songs for a Dead King (unreleased – 1981 / 1983)

It’s been almost a year since we last discussed Ritual in an article that led to my discovery of the unreleased Songs for a Dead King. In bizarre mea culpa – it’s sat on my hard drive unheard until yesterday, and the loss is totally mine, because it’s very good indeed.

That Ritual never formally released this is almost a crime – it’s vastly better than the stuff they released through Red Flame.

As one might expect from their vinyl releases, it straddles the line between punk and what would become known as “Goth”. What one might not expect is the odd, and indeed cute, media samples in between songs.

Curiously, Ritual seem to have unleashed Songs for a Dead King on an unsuspecting world twice. The first time was in 1981, which they then followed up with the “Mind Disease” 7” (Red Flame, 1982) and the “Kangaroo Court” 12” (Red Flame, 1983) before Songs for A Dead King makes a reappearance in 1983. It’s not clear to me if the two versions are the same album in different packaging, or if Ritual actually recorded the entire thing over again.

The cassette cover of the 1983 version

A different version of “Mind Disease” appears here, and is much more engaging than the 7” version, and so does a much improved version of “Brides” from the Kangaroo Court 12”.

More importantly there are some brilliant tracks like “Portrait”, “End Product” and “Assassin” that don’t appear anywhere else, and a wonderfully aggression-fueled interpretation of The Velvet Underground’s “Waiting for the Man”.

And happily, some helpful little soul has put the entire thing on Youtube for us.

Structure (of my Madness)

Human Sacrifice








Waiting for the Man

End Product

Mind Disease


As noted, Songs for a Dead King was never formally released on any label. suggests that “While shopping their demo around the band compiled a cassette tape of live tracks and demo recordings to sell to fans.”
This raises more questions – was this album put together as a “proof of concept” thing for a forthcoming album, or was it perhaps produced for fans only? Seemingly it resides in a strange grey area of being more than a demo yet less than an album.

In the end though, it doesn’t really matter, because it’s quite brilliant, deserves to be more widely disseminated, and it’s here:

Track Listing
  1. Structure (of my Madness)
  2. Human Sacrifice
  3. Playtime
  4. Manpower
  5. Portrait
  6. Cult
  7. Brides
  8. Closedown
  9. Effigy
  10. Waiting for the Man
  11. End Product
  12. Mind Disease
  13. Assassin
I hate to use the same band pic twice, but there just isn't that 
much out there - if anyone wanted to send me something better, I'd appreciate it.

Line Up: Errol Blythe (vocals), Ray Mondo (drums), Jamie Stewart (guitar), Steve Pankhurst (saxophone)