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Minny Pops \ Sparks In A Dark Room [FBN 15 / CD]


Factory Benelux presents deluxe 2xCD and double vinyl editions of Sparks In A Dark Room, the second studio album by Dutch electronic group Minny Pops, originally released by Factory Benelux in May 1982.

Formed in Amsterdam in 1978 by vocalist Wally Van Middendorp, Minny Pops took their name from the primitive Korg drum machine which propelled their austere, post-punk rhythms and provocative live performances. An early association with Factory Records in Manchester saw the band work with producer Martin Hannett, share stages with Joy Division and New Order, and become the first Dutch band to record a BBC radio session for John Peel.

Self-produced by the group, Sparks In A Dark Room was recorded without a guitarist and therefore sounded unusually polished and layered, its smooth sequencers and motorik rhythms often redolent of Moroder, Kraftwerk and Cabaret Voltaire. Bonus tracks on the CD version include the non-album singles Time and Een Kus, as well as unreleased demo tracks and an EP by instrumental splinter project Smalts.

This expanded FBN edition also adds a bonus disc featuring an entire live performance (13 tracks), recorded at Amsterdam Melkweg on 7 April 2012 on their 30th anniversary tour, with original members Wally Van Middendorp, Wim Dekker and Pieter Mulder augmented by guitarist Mark Ritsema.

FBN has also collaborated with Blowpipe Records (Wim Dekker) on a handsome double vinyl edition. Disc one contains the original Sparks... album (tracks 1 to 12 on CD disc 1), newly remastered for vinyl, while the second disc is the complete Melkweg live set from 2012. Available in a choice of black or blue/red vinyl. 500 copies only will be pressed.

CD tracklist:

Disc 1:

1. Mountain
2. A Feeling
3. Tracking
4. Crack
5. Vital
6. Blue Roses
7. Black Eye
8. Wong
9. Experience
10. Dream
11. Night Visit
12. Trance
13. Time
14. Lights
15. Een Kus
16. Son
17. Secret Story (demo)
18. Schitterende Ogen (demo)
19. Time (Demo)
20. Werktitel #7
21. Werktitel #5
22. Werktitel #1
23. Werktitel #8

Disc 2 (live):

1. Kogel
2. Blue Roses
3. Tracking
4. Vital
5. Goddess
6. Dolphin's Spurt
7. Mountain
8. Wong
9. Secret Story
10. Time
11. Trance
12. Mental
13. Son

Cover art by Rob Van Middendorp. Mailorder copies of the CD are dispatched in a special FBN slipcase. To order CD please select correct shipping option and click on Add To Cart button below cover image, or else contact FBN by email.

Mailorder copies of the vinyl version are priced at £25.00 including UK postage (£30.00 including overseas postage) and are delivered with a free copy of the Secret Stories CD plus a facsimile copy of a vintage Minny Pops flyer.

Sparks In A Dark Room [FBN 15 CD]
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Reviews:

"Sparks In A Dark Room was the modest high point of the Ultra-revival, the avant-garde postpunk movement of which Amsterdam was the center and Minny Pops the pioneers. After debut album Drastic Measures, Drastic Movement and the singles surrounding it - all of which were radical statements - Sparks sounded a bit more, ahem, normal. The frantic sounding rhythm box was exchanged for a real drummer, lead vocalist Wally van Middendorp attempted actual singing, the vibe became moody, and the sound (with its synth carpets in minor) merged nicely with Factory. But the Melkweg live recording from 2012 - whoa, it's really something. With the rhythm box/drum computer again on board the whole thing sounds far more radical. The band of 2012 (according to the Minny Pops concept, including two members not part of the original setting) is to the point, and Wally's declamations sound urgent. He even announces some tracks with their catalogue number - a privilege courtesy only of the Factory family tree" (Oor, 04/2014)

"For a scene dominated by po-faced dullards, Minny Pops are welcome light relief. Although too eccentric to make sense of their regular comparisons to Interpol, this lavish expansion of their second album from 1982 is a good starting point, thanks to its Cabaret Voltaire pulse and Wally van Middendorp's tongue-in-cheek dark monologues. The welter of extras is exemplary, including a brutal live album from their 30th anniversary tour in 2012, which replaces drums with a drum machine while adding a guitarist whose changing style adds to the theatrical doom" (Classic Pop, 06/2014)

"Sparks In A Dark Room is an under-the-radar masterpiece" (Uncut, 02/2012)

"The Interpol of their day, and it's aged surprisingly well" (Q Magazine, 04/2003)

"The cold menace of the album sounds remarkably fresh 20 years on, bearing favourable comparisons with contemporaries such as Simple Minds and Tubeway Army as well as the current crop of analogue pretenders" (Uncut, 05/2003)

"Fascinating. If you can keep a straight face while listening to Interpol, you'll love it" (Muzik, 05/2003)

"There's an implacable note of self-awareness and humour which separates the album from those by other practitioners of the style. I like that" (Brainwashed, 05/2003)

"A real lost electropop classic from a time when minimal synth-pop crossovers were rightly lauded as being pioneering. Minny Pops established a firm identity as purveyors of fine, hypnotic Euro trance pop, and SIADR is a lost classic of a kind" (Whisperin' and Hollerin', 02/2003)

"This places Minny Pops squarely within the realm of an early 80s interface that pitched accessible pop conveniences and electronic experimentation in the same arena" (Careless Talk, 05/2003)

"Pristine bleakness. Take this opportunity to hear the misery missed" (Other Music, 03/2003)

"Paints a vivid picture of this lost Dutch band" (gullbuy.com, 2/2003)