Ike Yard have a new album out on Desire Records. It’s called Nord.
The New York trio were one of the most original and downright brilliant bands to emerge from the Stateside post-punk explosion, and the artistic achievements of their slender catalogue arguably outweigh those of many of their more prolific and famous no wave brethren.
Formed in 1981, they released their flawless self-titled debut album (often erroneously called A Fact A Second on account of the oversized catalogue number on its sleeve) on Factory Records’ shortlived Factory America imprint, and a 12″ single on Les Disques Du Crépuscule, before disbanding in 1983. The vinyl was never repressed, and original copies quickly became impossible to find for sensible sums; it wasn’t until 2006 that their work was anthologised, on Acute Records’ essential 1980-82 Collected CD.
The band owed a substantial debt to the hypnotic grooves of German acts like Can and Neu!, but members Kenny Compton, Stuart Argabright and Michael Diekmann drained away all trace of psychedelic excess from their own propulsive, rigorously minimalist tracks; the resulting music prompted comparisons with Throbbing Gristle, Suicide and Cabaret Voltaire. Ike Yard actually played a show with Suicide and 13:13 (Lydia Lunch) at Maxwell’s, one of three legendary live performances in New York (the others were with New Order and Section 25 at Ukrainian National Home and Peppermint Lounge respectively).
After the band split, Argabright went to West Berlin, where he worked with members of Malaria, DAF and Liaisons Dangereuses, and also collaborated with Claudia Summers and Kenneth Lockie as Dominatrix (yes, the group behind future-proof synth-pop banger ‘The Dominatrix Sleeps Tonight’). Then silence, more or less…until 2006, and the completely unexpected release of new material on Phisteria Records. Öst found the band as sharp and uncompromising as ever, though an accompanying press release caused some consternation by wrongly claiming that Kode9 had called Ike Yard “the first dubstep band”. He might not have said it, but there’s some truth to the sentiment – the stripped arrangements and tonal vocabulary of a track like ‘NCR’ certainly anticipate both dubstep and its textural sibling, minimal techno.
The resurgent ‘Yard have now recorded a brand new studio album, Nord – their first in 26 years. It was recorded with producer Paul Geluso in New York, and is apparently inspired by their exhaustive travels around Europe and Japan. The CD was released back in July on Desire Records; digital and vinyl editions will be issued before 2011 is out. European tour dates are also expected to be announced in the near future. Oh, and the group recently made their dub/techno connection explicit with a remix of Vladislav Delay’s Sistol project. Ike Yard are back, and they’re very welcome.
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5. Metallic Blank
6. Beautifully Terrible
7. Type N
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11. Robot Steppes