This collection is what every industrial fan needs or has wanted in the past. Back in the days of music experimentation and collaboration at the legendary Chicago Trax Studios, many musicians found a home for their alternative music. Getting signed to Jim Nash's breakthrough label was a big bonus. Some might have started just as studio extras and got promoted to full band membership. Ministry was one of the projects to find a home here when not working for their full-time label Sire Records. Many times their true identities were not credited on record, but we all knew it was Al Jourgensen and Paul Barker behind the scene.
Names frequently associated with the label's mish-mash music stable are: Luc van Acker, Bill Rieflin, Richard 23, Chris Connelly and Michael Balch. To make such an impact, Wax Trax! seemed to have the right distribution to get their vinyl releases to all corners of North America and licensed to European labels.
This is the first compendium of Jourgensen's and Ministry's side projects up to 1990. Disappointingly, this first pressing of "Side Trax" is in monaural form. We're hearing there's a fixed version about to be released. All the 15 tracks have been released on past EP:s except for "Show Me Your Spine". The first third is dedicated to Pailhead. This band is highly underrated as the raw energy exudes from familiar "No Bunny" and the angst come rage in "I Will Refuse". Simple yet effective guitar riffs, the accelerated drums and crashes go beyond backing track to the Minor Threat vocals of Ian MacKaye. Some great use of the telephone answering playback and megaphone techniques add to the flavour. Opener "Man Should Surrender" reminds me of Dead Kennedys style pogo-ing material.
The next segment offers four tracks from 1000 Homo DJ:s. Jourgensen takes on the vocalist role on two songs, while Jello Biafra and Trent Reznor guest on the latter out of print CD maxi.
P.T.P. (Programming the Psychodrill)'s "Show Me Your Spine" recording shows the second time Jourgensen was told how to do his music. Then Trax Studio visitor, Nivek Ogre walks by and ends up laying down the vocals for this unreleased full length song, originally penned for Paul Verhoeven's original "Robocop" movie (1987). It would have been a catch to have the original Jourgensen vocal on this disc as well for comparison. PTP later shine in their quirky "Rubber Glove Seduction" dance track release.
The Acid Horse single completes this archive. A collaboration with seminal UK dance industrial act Cabaret Voltaire, the track "No Name No Slogan" continues in the vein of "Rubber Glove Seduction". It has Connelly, Kirk and Mallinder on vocals. The more dance appeal Cabaret Voltaire remix that ends the CD was mixed by the Cabs in their home studio location of Sheffield, UK.
These "Side Trax" can be enjoyed in a crowded goth bar or while in solitary confinement. And so ends the era of the Hypo Luxa/Hermes Pan
production team (RIP).
A companion Ministry roots CD called "Early Trax" is also available.