A List of Things We Lost is the rare vinyl blog of the sometimes corporeal, always ephemeral Unbreakable Records.

Nothing posted here will be found on a compact disc. Links are lingering somewhere at the end of each post; go find 'em!

No commercial endeavor is implied or supported by the posting of this music, it is for personal enjoyment and consumption only.

Looking for some killer tunes no one else has? VISIT U.R. ON DISCOGS

Friday, July 18, 2008


Now here’s some folks who just don’t give a shark fuck. Love Backed By Force [Alien Records, Bealien3], the product of Ziro Baby’s & Gaby de Vivienne’s short-lived (and final) configuration of the Tronics, should sit rightly beside the work of the Velvet Underground for its lasting influence on DIY indie rock, whether anyone knows it or not.

Tronics evloved from the Gits, a late-70s UK thrash band led by Ronnie Git, who would soon recast his already-pseudonymous persona & nom de musique in the guise of Ziro Baby. After some line-up shake ups, Baby renamed his project "Tronics", releasing his first 45, “Suzy’s Vibrator” b/w “Favorite Girls”, in 1978. After a second single, the band dissolved again, washed in a constant spin cycle of hard drugs & personal differences. Ziro Baby soldiered on, pursuing sundry eclectic musical endeavors with an ever-rotating cast of musicians until regrouping with de Vivienne. The 17-year old Baby got down to some serious biz in 1980, recording Love Backed By Force mainly by himself, with all of the nonchalant swagger of one who knows exactly how to do it himself.

Baby had already recorded the first two Tronics albums, Tronics and What’s The Hubub Bub (both of which were cassette-only, with the latter credited as helping to create the cassette-format release phenomenon of early indie rock) in the kitchen of his basement flat in Earl’s Court, surrounded by addicts & hangers-on. His m.o. for Love remained the same: thoughtful yet primal guitar parts laid out under vocals that reflected odd, impassioned ennui. By the time he got down to Love, Baby’s sound was perfected; though production value hovers at an honorably low line, there’s just enough to reward repeated listens. He croons with a love of straightforward songwriting, reflecting 50s pop in structure and sound, often contrasted with the foil of de Vivienne's naive/knowing singalong harmonies. The duo sound like they're taking a walk through an increasingly weird and dark forest, Baby always finding his way home by dropping breadcrumbs of delicious synths and lo-fi freakouts.

Although the UK punk label Wrench has reissued What’s The Hubub Bub on CD, the debut is still out-of-print, as are all the singles & this gleaming gem. The live bonus tracks that Wrench dug up to supplement Hubub sound great, & the disc is highly recommended not only to show the different iterations that Ziro Baby used to hone his musical image, but also because it's fan-fuckin-tastic. So go buy it!

After Tronics petered out in 1984, our erstwhile DIY demigod changed his name to Zarjaz, a word lifted from the popular British comic 2000 A.D. that translates, naturally, as “excellent.” Expressing his thanks for Baby's impact, Alan McGee's Creation Records released a 45, "One Charming Nite" b/w "My Baby Owns A Fallout Zone", with the band called “Les Zarjaz.” As a sad testament to what people do & don’t know, the Tronics MySpace page has woefully few visitors. Elsewhere, Freakapuss purports to be Zarjaz’s latest foray back out of the ether, but when you go there, all you get is some drone & a weird image. Sounds about right.

Zarjaz's Creation single is described by one reviewer as “silly numbers done in mediaeval style... it is not surprising the label turned down the chance to release a follow-up single.” Sure, a few tunes do have this kind of quality, like “Ice Flod Festival” and “Min Dama”, but in the context of a whole record it works charms like an old housewife remedy. Fear no critic: the stylistic diversity & sheer psychic cycle that Love Backed By Force gives the listener is an unrivalled joy.

Saturday, July 5, 2008


In keeping with ALOTWL's current chronology, may I present to you: The 80's. And is there any better way to dive into the decade of clubbed-out, drugged-out commercial excess than a double album of disco? No, no there isn't.

Tantra was a short-lived but hugely influential multi-racial, mixed-gender Italian quintet that operated within the subgenre of "Cosmic Disco." Although the tracks themselves were often long and spacey, the epithet actually derived from the name of a club, "Cosmic," based in northern Italy. The acknowledged innovator of the cosmic sound was DJ Daniele Baldelli, who began straying from the commercial sound of current (1979) italo-disco and began incorporating rock guitars, heavy funk basslines, tribal rhythms, eerie electronics and the like into his club mixes, generally keeping the bpm's up around 120+. (He also played 45s at 33 & vice versa. Crazy europeans!)

Tantra released two full-length albums in Europe on Phillips in 1979: The Hills Of Katmandu and Mother Africa. These were then collected for the American market in 1980 as The Double Album [Importe/12 MP-310]. Produced by Celso Valli (aka Quelli Del Castello) - who's spoken of by those in the know on the same level as Giorgio Moroder - Tantra hits all the requisite cosmic moves, with thumping, droning rhythm figures and extended jams. As Brian Chin, editor of Discotheque magazine, observes in his liner notes, "Disco is changing music, constantly absorbing new influences and techniques," speaking of the genre as "a fresh and progressive one."

Of course, it probably helped if you were on some tasty drugs, as the band was:

I get my kicks daily / I'm friends with most of the big shots
I'm full of dope mainly / To cut out the stage flops ("Top Shot")

Smoke-scented breeze fills the trees / And you drift away ... On forever!
Sweet-smelling substances / Liberate fantasy / We're together! ("Hills of Katmandu")

The Hills Of Katmandu LP had one long track on each side ("Hills" b/w "Wishbone) and was the bigger hit of Tantra's two Phillips albums. Here, it bookends Mother Africa, which, as the title implies, dives even further into the tribal/cosmic funk of Hills, with the title track, "Su-ku-leu" and "Hallelujah". Unfortunately, the one thing that Importe/12 didn't preserve was the freaky -cool cover art of the original releases (you can peep those here).

Maybe Importe just wanted heads to trance out to the slightly intoxicating orange burst of the cover:
More likely, they couldn't get the rights to the artwork. In fact, it's apparently all but impossible to get in touch with whoever owns the rights to the music, too, which is why anything by Tantra fetches some nutso prices on eBay. This may also be because, whether you love disco or hate it, The Double Album is a creature of its own, with enough cross-pollination going on for everyone to dig.