Louise Gray reviews Strike by Lining Time and Together for Ukraine by Various Artists.
by Lining Time
(Shadow World Editorial Records, LP, DL)
The only album recorded by a group of five women students going by the name of Lining Time in 1982, Strike is simplicity itself: mostly voices, percussion in the form of woodblocks, a bit of acoustic guitar, all in the employ of some excellent feminist consciousness-raising songs that remain – 40 years on – still pertinent. There is something so unguardedly direct about Strike that perhaps its closest landmark is not all the post-punk feminist rock around in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but the 1976-77 recordings from the Langley Schools Music Project, in which Canadian children sang songs by David Bowie, Klaatu, The Carpenters and Barry Manilow.
That said, Strike has none of the gentle naivety of the Langley kids. The quintet – Claire Bushe, Cathy Frost, Lisa Halse, Cathy Josefowitz, Mara de Witt – were dance students at the Dartington College of Arts in rural England. Josefowitz went on to have an international career as a visual artist and Strike – originally only on cassette – was only rediscovered and re-released for a recent Paris-based retrospective of her work. Lining Time described Strike as ‘militant songs with dancing friends’. They were made at a time of Reclaim the Night marches against male violence against women and when the anti-nuclear peace camp at Greenham Common was making headlines. Even when Lining Time construct simple call and responses such as ‘Women in the world – strike! Mothers – strike! Sisters – strike!’, it’s with a lucidity that recalls the multitrack compositions of Meredith Monk. There is simplicity and elegance, strength and hope here.
РАЗОМ ЗА УКРАЇНУ/Together for Ukraine
by Various artists
(Standard Deviation x Mystictrax Records, DL)
Since Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine, a European humanitarian crisis of a proportion unseen since the Second World War has been unfolding in real time. Organizations of all types are fundraising to help Ukrainian refugees. Together for Ukraine is just one of the musical community’s responses to this call.
Compiled under the auspices of the underground Kyiv club Ǝ⁄ (the mathematical symbol means ‘does not exist’ – something that, right now, seems hard to think of) and two of the city’s underground labels, Standard Deviation and Mystictrax, this digital album gathers 65 Ukrainian and international club artists to raise money for a range of funds helping children, LGBTQI+ people, and the Come Back Alive foundation, which since 2014 has been supporting the Ukrainian military forces for ‘purely defensive initiatives’. Some of the names here will be well known to followers of club music: Laurent Garnier and Miss Kittin need no introduction, and nor does – on the artwork front – Wolfgang Tillmans who created the cover image. Given the enormity of the invasion, it’s salutary to realize that many of the tracks have been created within days of the conflict starting: Decka and the Lady Machine’s ‘One for Ukraine’ and Job Sifre’s ‘Heroyam Slava’ are certainly two.
All the tracks here are of the banging techno variety. This is not to everyone’s taste, but what is incredible is that these musicians and DJs, some in Ukraine, some not, have responded to the fundamental ethos of club culture – a joyous gathering of the tribes – to make something that puts hope out into the world.