It’s always good to be able to talk about local bands, although only of course when they are any good. The best band around Exeter for a couple of years has been Appliance, and it’s good to see them getting the attention they so richly deserve. Moving on from their two swiftly sold out 10" releases of 1997, Appliance have already hit and run with a 7" on Earworm this year. Thanks to play from Peel, some solid reviews and support slots with the likes of Salaryman and Trans Am, the record sold out of it’s initial pressing in near to one month, which is pretty good going. If you can still find it you’re doing pretty well, and you’d be encouraged to pick it up on sight. Two tracks, ‘Outer’, and my preference, ‘Rev a’, which is a minimalist ‘tribute’ to the Suicide man, with just the right amount of sonic reference to make it personal. A new 12" for the Enraptured label will be out in the summer, with a limited number on clear vinyl. Developing their controlled cool groove, Appliance look set to deliver on the promise of intelligent, divergent rock music. Miss out at your peril.

Speaking of Suicide, here’s as good a time as any to remind you all that their seminal debut LP was reissued this year by Blast First and that if you don’t have it then you are missing out big style. If you can still pick up the double CD package with the live tracks then do so immediately, if only to dispel notions that minimal electronics sound boring in a live situation. ’23 Minutes over Brussels’ is quite simply astonishing as Pop theatre.
On the European techno trip, there was Techno Animal with their Versus Reality project, wherein you get 6 tracks by Techno Animal, and then the same six tracks remixed by a range of folks from Ui to Alec Empire. Highly recommended for lovers of remixology, and one to check if the Tortoise of ‘TNT’ left you a little disappointed, as here they turn in a suitably sparse, dubby drum’n’bass inflected version of ‘Bionic Beatbox’ that is uniformly excellent. Whilst there, check out that Alec Empire mix of ‘Atomic Buddha’. Packed full of delay and echo, it reaffirms Empire as a man of clearly delightful deconstructive tendencies. Not nearly so adventurous is Schneider TM, with his Moist LP on City Slang. References are made to the Velvet Underground, and if the sleeve of the ‘Up-Tight’ 12" takes a straight lift from the excellent book of the same name, then unfortunately there is a less than clear continuation of the connection in the music. Somewhat predictable techno tomfoolery that fails to connect in either an emotional or intellectual manner, I’m afraid.