Artist: Bates, Martyn
Title: American Dissonance
Label: Beta-lactam Ring Records
Format: LP
Catalog #: mt197lp
Condition: new
Price: $20.00


“…it’s an amazing, long lost missing piece in the UK post-punk/DIY jigsaw.” The Wire/April 2007.  Ed. of 150 copies on 220 gram vinyl. Freed from layers of sand, the ancient seal is cracked and the stone portal pried away. A hoary blizzard of slowly settling dust and mold is finally sliced by the first tantalizing glint of a mythological cache. At long last a lost experimental classic from the earliest days of the UK diy movement is delivered from legendary obscurity. “…violent anti-music: I think this is a brilliant tape…hauntingly beautiful and totally refreshing sound.” So wrote Geoff Rushton (aka Jhon Balance) in a 1980 issue his Stabmental magazine about Martyn Bates’s “Dissonance” cassette. Originally released as a micro-edition in the UK in 1979, the more definitive American version was released as a cassette in the US shortly afterwards. For the first time “Dissonance” sees a limited edition CD and vinyl reissue, appended by a bonus disc with the 1994 “completion” of the piece. “Dissonance” presaged Martyn’s solo career and his work as part of Eyeless In Gaza in a most unusual way. Rather than directly suggesting what was to come, the cassette, instead, suggested a composing and sound AESTHETIC that exists to this day. That first cassette-only cri-de-coeur would have you believe that Martyn would be the next Nurse With Wound. Instead, rather like a more extreme Vice Versa or Human League, with Bates literally finding his voice, the later music (solo and with Eyeless In Gaza) evolved into a textural, fractured, DIY chamber pop INFORMED by the avant-garde, occasionally straying back into outright experimentalism (Pale Hands I Loved So Well, eg.). That Eyeless In Gaza (and let’s not forget Peter Becker) and post 70’s Martyn Bates manifested from “Dissonance” makes this bizarre and essential release even more of a precious find. If Martyn had not recorded another note, this would still stand as an extremely important early, incredibly forward thinking moment of sonic exploration. Dynamic, visceral and jagged but musical and deliberately constructed, “Dissonance” captures, maybe even defines the zeitgeist of the DIY attitude that was rising in the heady days of the late 70’s and early 80’s. An undeniable antecedent and a true revolution.