Clock DVA started life as a post-punk band in Sheffield, UK, alongside bands such as Cabaret Voltaire, Heaven 17, The Human League and Pulp. As well known fixtures of the scene there, they all later went on to enjoy their own branches of success (Cabaret Voltaire were an important part of the earlier industrial scene and later went on to produce new wave and minimal techno albums, The Human League a famous synthpop group, and Pulp described by a local fanzine "as if they listen to the John Peel show every night in an endless quest for influences" finding their own niche in alternative rock). Many of these bands were characterised by experimenting with fusing the punk rock ethos with the developing subculture of electronic music, Clock DVA refining themselves over the years as a key force in influencing post-industrial genres such as EBM.
is their 1989 release, and in context of much of the industrial and electronic music coming out at the time has a fairly remarkable production quality. The earlier, blocky analogue rhythms which characterised groups such as The Klinik, Borghesia, Die Form and Nitzer Ebb were being replaced by a vibrant, modern sound, groups such as Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Front Line Assembly and Foetus were releasing works which felt very ahead of their time considering that even in 1992 acts like Alien Sex Fiend still sounded very much stuck in the 80's. In any case, it was a transitional period where industrial rock & metal, EBM and coldwave would come to dominate the scene, new subcultures such as "cybergoths" would replace the 80's rivethead and the image of a homosexual bald european man running around wearing suspenders with his shirt off. Technology was changing, the scene was changing, the sounds were changing. Clock DVA's Buried Dreams
is firmly woven into the tapestry of this period.
This album is crafted on subtleties and repetition. It is a dark, brooding, contemplative affair. Buried Dreams
is, if I have permission to apply such a term here, atmospheric. Many samples populate the album, and softly blended, sinister vocals. It has an ambient feel at times, but has far too much of a sense of rhythm and melody to be simply labelled that. In fact, I could see this being well recieved at an industrial music bar, tracks such as Hide, Sound Mirror
and The Reign
certainly aren't danceable by any stretch, but are texturally complicated enough be endlessly interesting yet still, for lack of a better word, relaxed
. Other highlights include Velvet Realm
and The Hacker
, which are simply magnificent, the album isn't without it's weaker cuts though such as The Unseen
and Connection Machine
. These fit into the overall weaving of the album well and don't feel out of place, however.
Clock DVA have produced a very good album here. Buried Dreams
is particularly rewarding through a good set of headphones, the production subtleties making up for any sense of being beat over the head with repetition (all of these tracks exceed five minutes in length and don't feature all that much in the way of traditional progression). It is a mighty fine electronic album, sitting somewhere between 80's EBM and modern industrial, but not really belonging to neither. It feels like a strong precursor to much of the 90's goth club sound, with a slick production and dark, polished veneer. Admittedly, it still sounds like an 80's album at times, especially with it's synthesised horns. This was certainly progress, however.