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ZOWISO - At A Jogtrot To Death; Sloop De Stopera; Beat Per Minute; The Lust {This Could Be Your Music Label} PODCAST PLAYED Four individual downloads from this label specialising in download-only re-issues.

For those who don’t know, ZOWISO was a band outta Wormer, Netherlands that existed in the early-mid 80s. The debut album, At A Jogtrot To Death was originally released back in 1982. You get 22 tracks here, most of which are under two minutes (in fact it’s only opener ‘Dioxine’ and closer ‘U.S. Freedom’ that go over the two minute barrier, with many less that one minute). There’s certainly links with fellow Dutchmen, THE EX with a bit of CRISIS, ZOUNDS and minimalist Post-Punk type gear in general. Highlights are plenty be it the faster Punk of ‘Run’ and ‘Home Kids’, ‘Eternal Sabotage’ that gives a nod to CRASS, ‘Profits Race’ that sees a saxophone employed to great effect, ‘K.K.K’ that pivots around an ominous bass riff and stark, bitter vocal and the scratchy, insistent ‘200 Years’. It’s all pretty downbeat stuff, discordant in parts, very much of its time and is rounded off by a couple of live tracks.

Next up was Sloop De Stopera, originally released in 1983 and a split with ZWEMBADEN (whose tracks are not included). Opening with the barbed ‘Welcome Back’ it picks up on the same vibe as the debut with its lyrics regarding the Falklands War victory parade in London. I kept hearing early INSTIGATORS here too, particularly in the vocal delivery. Four tracks follow, all of which are longer than those on the debut, with nothing under two minutes; closer ‘Testtube Treat’ even approached five minutes. These are all slower tracks too, darker, more abstract and experimental with ‘Stopera’ being the only track to up the pace to a level that could compare with some of the faster tracks on the debut. Highlight of the record is probably that opening track, although ‘Rape The Justice’ commands the listeners attention too.

Beat Per Minute was released as a 7" back in 1983. It’s adventurous if rather ominous stuff too, with the lead track ‘Blacks Prison’ held together with a probing, insistent bass line, fractured guitar a’la THE MOB and a demanding vocal. The remaining two tracks ‘F.A.O. Show’ and ‘Mailbox’ keep things downbeat with the latter having a vague Keith Levene (circa PUBLIC IMAGE LTD) feel about the guitars and the former keeping that MOB sound to the fore. Have to say, the vinyl that all these re-issues have been ripped from leaves a bit to be desired with crackles and clicks heard quite clearly.

Finally, The Lust was released in 1985 and it’s probably my favourite of them all. You get eight tracks, with opener, ‘The Gift’ instantly being brighter than anything on the previous two releases but without losing any of the barbed anger or sneering delivery. Elsewhere, ‘The Happy End’ starts all subtle with just piano and vocal before mutating into a dramatic, tom-tom heavy track that THEATRE OF HATE could have possibly written, ‘The Truth Lies Midway’ being insistent and ever more MOB-like while ‘New Present Day Offers’ could be the best track the band ever did. Each song works here, they seem more well-formed without compromising any of the ideals or attitudes of the previous releases and makes this, without a doubt, the place for the curious to start.

Would love to see these re-issued on vinyl, or a CD compilation; would make them much more credible than a ripped download.  (28.09.18)

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