Local music collector and DJ Collin Gabriel likes collecting music from countries where people don't think music scenes truly exist. When he heard a song from the short-lived but popular 80s post-punk band Siekiera on Youtube for the first time, he fell in love with the idea of starting an international record collection.
"I've never gone from listening to a song to ordering an album that fast before. I instantly fell in love with their music, " Gabriel said. "I wondered what other music from Poland was out there. [Siekiera] wasn't just created in a vaccum, so I started researching more and more."
Gabriel now touts a collection of eclectic post-punk sounds six years in the making, and his picks stretch the globe, from Poland and Russia to Switzerland, Belgium, and back to America. Siekiera is just one of the many bands you will hear playing at his quarterly-organized event Cold Wave at the Cat Cave this Friday at Mohawk Place.
Cold Wave at the Cat Cave is an 80s synth-pop, gothic rock, and dark wave dance party that presents an opportunity for local artists and musicians to connect over some of their favorite obscure and underappreciated sounds. At this Friday's event, there will be live painters, art vendors, and vegan eats, as well as a performance by NYC-based dark wave band NOIR. Gabriel will also be spinning tracks from scene-shaping bands on the home front, like Joy Division, The Cure, and Depeche Mode.
While Gabriel admits that he finds a majority of international bands over the internet at sites like Rate Your Music and Discogs, he believes that technology has sort of had a homogenizing affect on the local music scenes of today.
"There are bands from France that have the same exact sound as a band from the US or New Zealand because everything is so interconnected on the internet, for better or for worse." He said. "I don't like it because a lot of local scenes [in these countries] have lost their flavor and they all sound the same now, whereas in the 80s, there was no single Polish sound, for instance. There were numerous sounds."
Even still, Gabriel's heart continues to gush over foreign soundscapes. Here the DJ describes some of his favorite international post-punk songs and the bands that have greatly influenced his music collection over the years:
Minimal Compact // Dedicated
"This Israeli's band legacy was established over five great albums in the years 1981-1987. This song recycles one of their old er song's lyrics from 1982 called "Creation Is Perfect," updating it with shimmering, hypnotic guitars and male and female vocals bouncing off of each other to make for a sublime song that brings their best qualities as a band together in four minutes. It also served as the band's swan song, making the lyrics especially poignant."
Klaus Mitffoch // O Glowie
"In all of Poland's 80's post-punk and coldwave scenes, no figure stands taller than the band called Klaus Mitffoch and their lead singer and bassist, Lech Janerka. This song is similar in structure to The Buzzcock's ''Harmony In My Head'', with its alternating aggressive verse and gloriously melodic chorus. Lech Janerka, as a master wordsmith, uses irony in expressing national pride for the Polish white and red."
Matia Bazar // Elettrochoc
"Singer Antonella Ruggiero's vocal acrobatics seem to come from another planet. Even coming from a country like Italy, with a reputation for churning out great, classically trained singers, she stands out for her expressive melodies, and as the driving force during Matia Bazar's first and best era. Looking at her vocals on a music staff as she's singing would require quick eyes, because she's all over the place, but somehow every single note is perfectly in key. Operatic synth-pop classic."
Videosex // Stakleno Nebo
"On the other side of the vocal spectrum, you have Anja Rupel, who takes a more restrained but no less effective approach. Videosex were an important synth-pop band in the former Yugoslavia from 1983-1992, breaking up the year after the beginning of the Yugoslav Wars. Most of their lyrics are in Croatian, despite being a Slovenian band."
Martin Dupont // Inside Out
"A French cold wave band active from 1981-1987. 'I want to wear my life inside out.' I think we've all felt this way at times."
Cold Wave at the Cat Cave's Two Year Anniversary event will take place this Friday at Mohawk Place. Entry is $8 and doors are at 8 pm.