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Portray Heads

Portray Heads

Minimal Wave / Bitter Lake

Released: 15th March 2021

2xLP £31.99 Buy Now In Stock. Dispatched today.

Minimal Wave Records and Bitter Lake Recordings are happy to present their first collaborative release, a double LP by mythical Japanese underground electronic trio Portray Heads. Their self-titled double LP spans all their recordings to date including the songs from their rare “Elaborate Dummy” flexi (1985) and follow-up “Oratorio” (1986) Influenced by early 1980s European New Wave and Japanese synthpop, their songs range from circular poppy synth gems to moody dark new wave anthems – all led by strong female vocals. The release is limited to 999 copies pressed on 160 gram black double vinyl, presented in a high quality matte gatefold jackets featuring a rare photograph and the story behind the band.

Now THIS is the business. Obscure, weirdly forgotten synth wave industrial pop music from suburban Japan, how could music this good be buried under memory rubble? The compilation opens with the group's debut flexi double hitter, Elaborate Dummy / Watch Your Scope. The former bursts in with a robotically funky, arpeggiated analog synth and staccato vocal from Ayumi Tokunaga which makes this feel like an immediate classic, big Severed Heads, early Industrial funk vibes.The flip to original flexi features a heavy synth riff with an attitude-laden Tokunaga vocal, feeling like Suburban Lawns played on Korgs. The sound can also veer towards a more cold, Goth mood as on Industrial Eye with its ghostly synth lines and sampled bassline and alternate vocalist Yumi Ochi's desperation. So much of Portray Head's admittedly minimal output feels like it's ripped straight from the cold wave / industrial crossover of the early European 80s yet there's often more adventurous ideas, a slightly more dance-heavy groove, really it's bizarre it's taken Minimal Wave and Bitter Lake's intervention with this compilation to place Portray Heads in the company they deserve to be in. Absolutely essential oddity.