DJ VOX SINISTRA (BRITTNIE FULLER; Hollow Earth Radio)
Shinobu, "Ceramic Love" b/w "Earth" (Kang-Gung Records/1984/Japan)
"This is Japanese synth maverick Shinobu Narita's solo material before he joined the fabulous group Urban Dance. His wildly ethereal sound is at least three galaxies removed from most synth pop, in a dimension all its own."
Borghesia, "Noćne šetnje" (Ljubav Je Hladnija Od Smrti/Totò Alle Prese Coi Dischi/1985/Yugoslavia; reissued by Dark Entries, 2010)
"The live version of this song evokes dreary minimalism with a stark and brutalist mood while the album version induces imminent shivers with a deeply intoxicating synth line. There is something so special about ex-Yu post-punk, weird synth music, and new wave, and Borghesia are its (almost) forgotten stars."
The Associates, The Peel Sessions (recorded 04/28/1981 / broadcast 05/04/1981)
"I would like to be eternally trapped in Billy Mackenzie's falsetto when I die, and then jettisoned into space like a radio frequency. These versions are much darker and stranger than their album counterparts, and it works to gorgeous ends. This is probably my all-time favorite Peel Session; it's a time-testament to a band with much more depth than their pop hits. I tried to pick one song from it, but they are all perfect. A space tomb filled with the Associates is my version of heaven."
New Scientists, "The Storm" (Pictures of Reality/self-released/1986/Germany)
"SOS. Someone needs to reissue this record right now. It never came out on a label, and only ever saw a limited release by the band themselves—which seems especially tragic when you hear its nonstop synth-pop bliss. Track to track, the melodies get bigger and brighter and on this single, it fully erupts into a Vince Clarke-era Depeche Mode chasm of delight. Featuring two members of similarly forgotten band Cunning Toy (who put out the equally catchy and expensive single, 'Searching' a year later)."
Sort Sol, "Marble Station" (4AD/1981/UK)
"This song is the pinnacle of early 4AD for me (also, Modern English's Mesh & Lace). It effortlessly floats above all our heads, lush and extravagant, preceding shoegaze with its spacious grandeur and guitars that soar infinitely."
"Other songs that deserve a shout-out because I don't have enough discipline to just pick five: The Short Wave Mystery's 'Nice Girl' (quintessential arty minimal wave/synth pop); Parade Ground's 'Moans' (produced by Colin Newman of Wire); English Evenings' 'Tear You Down' (recorded in the same studio the same weekend as Dead or Alive's 'You Spin Me Round'); Sport of Kings' 'Sing Mary Sing' (shimmering guitars, anyone?); MASS' Labour of Love EP (post-Rema Rema super-dark post-punk); Anne Clark's 'Homecoming' (a classic from an under-heralded minimal wave poet); Electric Theatre's 'The Clown' (the height of hi-NRG-meets-EBM that became very popular in German and Mexican clubs); Kuruki's 'Crocodile Tears' (I love literally every song I've ever heard from this weird Belgian act); Interference's 'She Said Destroy' (clanging NY no wave)."
Crew/label affiliation:"I'm 93 percent lone wolf radio DJ still, so Hollow Earth Radio is my 'crew,' but if any mutant freaks want to start one with me—let's talk!"
Styles played: "Post-punk; synth-pop; no wave; new wave; minimal wave; EBM (electronic body music); industrial; NDW (German new wave); hi-NRG; Italodisco. I started out as a '70s punk and post-punk DJ and things got progressively weirder and synth-filled as the years progressed. My focus is much wider now, spanning the spectrum of '80s electronic music, mutant wave in all its derivative forms, and DIY-minded punk and new wave in the '80s, a time when musical creativity knew no bounds. My interests vary widely in terms of genres represented, but my allegiance to the late '70s-to-late '80s time frame is true (ah-ah-ah-AhHHH-ah)."
Events organized: "I host a weekly radio show at Hollow Earth Radio, 'Secret Meaning of Things,' every Tuesday 10 pm-midnight PST. I started there in 2010 after falling in love with radio in college, and that's still my primary focus as a DJ. I've come a long way since my first radio show in 2009, 'The Kitten Parade,' a twee-tastic indie-pop show on UW's Rainy Dawg Radio. I currently book regular live in-studios at Hollow Earth with local and touring bands and am hosting synth pop and '80s dance-oriented events at Corvus & Co. on Broadway."
DJing philosophy: "My goal has always been to explore the dark recesses of overlooked recordings and expose them to hungry and searching ears. I hunt for the deepest buried gems with an emphasis on international and underrepresented scenes, and find there's always more to excavate.
"The early '80s in particular were a time of limitless creative expression and I've devoted myself to unearthing as many weird bedroom recordings, unreleased demos or under-loved, would-be hits from that era as I can. I've done several specials on my show zeroing in on a time and place: Japanese synth pop, ex-Yugoslavian post-punk, New York no wave, etc. I regularly play music from across the world (and especially Europe), and my goal is to find something new and different for every show. I like that I can have more freedom in the booth with no audience to immediately react to my choices.
"Playing off the crowd's vibes, facilitating good feelings and getting people to dance or indulge in a deep head-bob is also something I love—and nothing puts a bigger smile on my face when I'm DJing live than seeing someone find their new jam—but I think my heart will always be with transmitting over the radio waves to an unseen audience. The mystery gives me more freedom to do what I want, whereas in a live setting there's more immediately at stake. I can't play some freaky Residents B-side or a Mexican new wave demo at a bar and expect people to respond positively (unless they are really flying that freak flag), but in the booth, anything is possible. That's the magic of radio."
Format: "For my radio show, I'll play whatever formats I can get my hands/computer on. Many of the original records I play are so rare they are $500 and like, shipping only from Sweden, or are so long out-of-print (or in some cases, never even released) and nowhere to be found at this point. Because I'm not a millionaire in need of a hobby, I play a lot of digital recordings on my show, but for my live setup, I've transitioned to all-vinyl the past couple years. I'm still fine-tuning my vinyl skills and have just recently fully nosedived into beat-matching for dance sets, but I like the control it gives you and the ability to pace the flow with greater agility than digital formats."
Worst request: "I've never taken a single request to my memory, live or in the booth. I want to show people new and exciting things, not rehash their favorites."
You can listen to Fuller's "Secret Meaning of Things" shows here.