Nagamatzu: Igniting The Corpse – album reviewNagamatzu ‘Igniting The Corpse’ (Motorcade Records)
Red vinyl LP (first 150 copies with art print)/DL
Out Now

1991; a heady year. The Zero issue of Music From The Empty Quarter hit doormats as a resurgence of interest in the grey areas of Electronics, Industrial and general weirdness gained some momentum AND Nagamatzu released what was to be their swansong, the seven-track Igniting The Corpse cassette. Though sadly, soon after the creative pairing of Stephen Jarvis and Andrew Lagowski parted ways, with the latter half since establishing himself as a staple for all that is quality in the field of electronica and stellar soundwork.

So, a re-release two-plus decades on, why now? As someone who still treasures the original magnetic tape I’d simply say, WHY NOT. But, as it happens there has been a bit of buzz in certain New York clubs, resulting in the San Franciscan-based label Dark Entries not only taking the trouble to track down the pair but to release their Sacred Island Of The Mad album from 1986 in lush wax grooves.

Rewind further though. To 1981. Our two like-minds decided it was high-time to feed a love of post punk industrial noise into a cross-breeding of machines, organics in the form of guitar and bass and mould responses into driven, ever-revolving soundtracks of their own. A forging partnership was born and for ten years they garnered a following. Sadly never reaching that ‘breakthrough’ moment, the reason purely being that not enough people bothered to listen. Thankfully we all get another opportunity to hear this important set of UK electronic compositions through this hunky slab of red vinyl on the band’s own resurrected Motorcade imprint…


First to note is the crystalline production and through the aid of a top-notch pressing they’ve upped the bass for a positive tremor-pleasure-ride. From the opening ‘Malaria’ the listener is on a journey brimming with rhythmic forward motion, richly dark precision synthetics aided-and-abetted by effected voice phrases and cut-ups. Trace histories of Cabaret Voltaire and Clock DVA could be examined but in reality Nagamatzu’s re-arranged underworld vision is a sound apart. Bizarrely for me, until now I hadn’t noticed a partial resemblance to Solar Enemy-era Portion Control on the tracks ‘Quietus’ and ‘Legion’; both intensely menacing, yet subtle and precise there are no billowing exploits of noise just a constant threat of mass absorption. ‘Corabella’ and ‘Strain’ contain dense, overwhelming percussion-work and cavernous textured tones but it’s the final ‘Threshold’ which is one hell of an epitaph. Sparse bursts of sound and blunt-stabbing synths tear their way through a disturbing hellish void… And, after.., Nagamatzu were no more.

If you already have an interest in, or a mind willing to explore less well-known but important, intelligent electronic-works from an era when an abundance of wires would actually be required to be plugged in and played with then Igniting The Corpse is a must purchase. And you never know, Andrew and Stephen might just arrive relatively unscathed from beyond the black hole they fell through all those years ago and commence deployment of new matter. I for one hope so.

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