It began as a duo… Lucifer X and Hypnotique first met as teenagers in 1994, while both avoiding school assembly in an imposing protestant cathedral somewhere in the East Midlands.
Despite shared musical tastes and a mutual disaffection with the juvenile and vulgar around them, they embarked on a decade of separate musical missions:
Hypnotique’s journey took her to Berlin cabaret vaults, touring the Alps with DDR chanson band Heist, sessions for prog rock legends Gong and John Peel, radio shows with Bob Moog and Jean-Jacques Perrey and television entertainment encounters with her theremin featuring drag queens and music industry moguls.
In the meantime, Lucifer founded Manchester’s Valentine Records, played on, produced and/or released a long list of records while promoting various ‘live music concerts’ in and around the post-industrial Cottonopolis..
After 12 years of caustic letter-writing the duo reunited to record the eponymous debut album Babyslave in one weekend, armed with strong gin, a choose-you-own-adventure erotic novel and William Burroughs' Naked Lunch for hors d’ouvres…
In 2007 the unholy duo became an ‘Industrial Cabaret’ trio with the arrival of Charlie Machine. An ArtPunkDeviant turned scholar who spent a (largely) wasted youth involved in music, performance art and hoodlum erudition in 1980s London, Charlie went on to play bass/sax/percussion of skulls with post-punk bands The Monochrome Set, The Brides of Christ and The English Disease and writing an adaptation of Kenneth Anger’s Hollywood Babylon at Steve Strange’s People’s Palace.
He later ‘tutored’ several members of Radiohead whilst hiding out as a University Lecturer on the set of Inspector Morse. Very Babyslave.
The plan (MK2) was initially quite straight forward: Write and record a second album with the new line-up then perform it live.
Unfortunately, what started out as a more-than-acceptable collection of demos inexplicably became a two year endurance test of re-recording, re-evaluation and general navel gazing (seemingly inspired by Brian Wilson’s work with sandpits and Kevin Shields work with doing-very-little).
Lucifer (going quietly mad in the producer’s chair) scrapped the entire recorded album at least twice for no apparent reason, whilst all three members attempted failed walkouts from a studio in rural Wales (mostly concerning how to realise the opening track).
The Arc Delirium was finally released in December 2009. Typically, the album’s 10 minute tour-de-force ‘Somnambulent’ was recorded in a matter of hours and near unanimous agreement… but there we go. The Devil is in the details…
After a gentle period of postal recording 2011 saw the project enter its’ ‘tertiary’ phase with the (considerably less difficult) third opus: the technically polished and widescreen Songs That Won The War
Featuring 14 tracks written and recorded in a period of relative harmony this record clearly showcases a ‘band’ at the peak of its’ powers: from the cinematic waltz of Fragile Boy on a Bicycle to the stripped down S&M funk of Filthy/Dirty.
Other highlights include Charlie Machine’s love letter to early Roxy Music (appropriately titled Stranded) and the six minute post-rock sludge of Blood, while the band's more avant-garde tendencies are filtered through caustic jazz (Ghost Roads), microdisco Vampires) and the epic-soundtrack sweep of the closing Europe After The Rain.
To raise their game further, Babyslave accompanied the album with a companion EP (featuring the exclusive and self-explanatory Burning Down The Witch House) and an emphatic live comeback at Valentine Records’ 10th Anniversary Event in September 2011…
Write, write, record, record. Following ‘Songs That Won The War’ (and a, quite literally 'epic' gig with Damo Suzuki in August 2012) Lucifer took some time out in order to start a family and study for a PhD in Black Metal Theory. As one does.
Temporarily slimmed down to a duo, Machine and Hypnotique set about creating a series of demos, fragments, found-sound collages and experiments with kitchen utensils - mostly in Brighton. Very very Babyslave. The resulting recordings were so numerous that (upon reconvening as a trio) a decision was made to assemble not one, but two new albums.
The first of these - ‘Kill For Dada’ was released in time for the British Summer of 2014 - with Runt (the darker/more difficult twin-sibling) as we approached the Winter Solstice...