Mosquitoes - s/t
10" | 45RPM | Mosquitoes - s/t | Edition of 300 | Released 5th March 2021 | SOLD OUT
The second of these records, recorded to tape in summer 2016 and first released as a single-sided 12" under the name MOS-002, is arguably the first true iteration of Mosquitoes. Now fittingly renamed Mosquitoes for its reissue as a dubplate-style 10" on World of Echo on 5th March, these five cryptically titled, shape-shifting tracks, see the trio embrace a near-genre-less fluidity, and in doing so express a unique combination of both freedom and intent. By design or instinct, Mosquitoes stand at their own inverted rock nexus, presenting a music that's turned inside out, and in doing so, music that twists the listener the same way.
In that sense, Mosquitoes plug into a long lineage of DIY savant iconoclasts, those outliers who would deny orthodoxy in order to excavate new languages and ideas - The Dead C, This Heat, the anti-formalism of No Wave, David Toop's General Strike. As such, Mosquitoes rely on a musical pluralism in order to take it apart - you must know how something is made before you reassemble it anew. Labelling this an EP may possibly underplay the breadth and ambition of what's on show. Later records would arguably be more cohesive, but what stands as particularly startling with this early work is their fearless and all-encompassing dive into the avant garde. Consider the anti-rockism of the scorched earth 90s re-imagined through a distinctly avant filter of free jazz and dub aesthetics. And it's the latter which perhaps shapes Mosquitoes most, dub the perfect vehicle for the articulation of such wilful anti-formalism. Make no mistake, this is music that's unafraid to be tough, to demand something of the listener and to not ask permission. And to bear witness to a rejection of formalism so aggressively pursued is to be reconciled.
Mutabor! - Two Wishes
12" | 45RPM | A. '1001 Nights' | AA. 'Treats' | Edition of 300 | Released 6th November 2020 | Sold out
World of Echo debuts on the other side of the counter with a reissue of Two Wishes, the solitary 12" by Anglo-German collective, Mutabor!. Seemingly lost to time, Mutabor! were first brought to World of Echo's attention when drummer/singer, Gary Asquith, played at the shop's first birthday celebrations while promoting one of his other bands, Rema Rema. And so the story goes...
Mutabor! emerged wraith-like from the monochromatic grit of Berlin's art punk underground late in 1981 when Asquith left London to set up temporary residence in the city following a chance meeting with Malaria's Bettina Koster backstage at a Birthday Party gig at the Lyceum earlier that year. Beguiled by the possibilities of collaboration, musical and otherwise, he was soon to make his own contributions to what was an already fecund scene. Partnering with Koster, and Gudrun Gut and Manon Duursma also of Malaria!, Mutabor! were publicly birthed via an impromptu performance at punk rock polestar the Risiko. Asquith found himself playing percussion in what would be a first, while the rest of the band ossified in front of him in typically idealistic post-punk democracy. Little documentation of the performance survives beyond that which exists in the memories of those playing - that itself shaky enough - though there was clearly sufficient encouragement for them to commit to a recording session.
Later that winter, the four booked time at Music Lab, the studio operated by Harris Johns, for what would ultimately be their only studio visit. Two songs were laid to tape, and soon after a photoshoot was to take place at Koster's flat, resulting in a handful of images that, along with the music, comprise the sum total evidence of the band's existence. 1001 Nights and Treats both found their way to Peter Kent, a co-founder of 4AD who had recently left the label with the ambition of starting his own imprint. Entitled Two Wishes, the two track 12" was to be the first and only release on Loaded. It seems that Mutabor! were to represent a series of firsts and lasts, a trend that continues now as they open the World of Echo imprint.
It's fitting to think of Mutabor! in these prescient terms given how they sounded. Berlin at that time shared a spiritual axis with New York, the conceptual & aesthetic discordance of no wave and a nascent off-beat dance culture underpinning much of the respective creative activity. There are shared signifiers, but even in that context, Two Wishes sounds oddly out of step, moving to its own unusual rhythm. 1001 Nights stutters along on a tribal beat that seems to run independent of skronking sax, spidery guitar lines and deadpan vocal incantations, the ghosts of two songs meeting in some kind of incompatible voodoo union. On the reverse, Treats slows down and dims the lights further, as Asquith sardonically recites desirous threats as an increasingly malevolent sax and guitar grinds behind him. No surprise the darkness within the music given the parent bands and the backdrop of a crepuscular early 80s Berlin, though there remains a complex compositional element to these songs that suggests a broader spectrum of emotion - desire, romance, and ultimately, infinite possibility.
Recut and mastered, Two Wishes is now presented with the original front cover artwork alongside additional imagery, including a 16 page booklet, all culled from Asquith's own archive. A brief bolt of energy at a crucial juncture in music history, Mutabor!'s story is emblematic of the mutli-verse of post-punk and the creativity its ideology necessitated.