V/A – Electroconvulsive Therapy Volume 4: The Art Of Survival

Still sifting through the dust of Record Store Day for the worthwhile bits that inevitably get stranded and trampled underfoot. This compilation from Medical Records that rounds up singles from UK minimal synth label Survival Records is just such a gem. This is the label’s third collection of older Survival material, but they’re still uncovering some propulsive, twisted tunes from a time when offbeat electronica was relegated to underground club nights and sifting through mail order addresses was the only way to slot a few of these onto your shelf. The collection’s notable for highlighting Survival’s disco fallout paired with scotch-taped synth-pop for crossovers that are equally as danceable as they are stuck in the pre-Devo dominance, post Heldon prog-punk hybrid pocket.

The dichotomy is evident on excellent b-sides from The Limit, whose “OK Go” and “Do It” pack both spacey atmospherics and hard-edged funk breakdowns. This collection also highlights a few tracks from Richard Bone, a soundtrack composer moonlighting as a synthpop overlord who wound up being regarded as a founder of the NYC electronic boom in his time. The label also gave new life to Bone’s Brave Tales as part of RSD, a treasure in its own right. The comp probably isn’t tops on the list of essential rundowns wrapping up this type of sound, but for collectors of Survival or general synth-pop archival explorers, this is a worthwhile pickup for sure.




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