Stress - Conspiracy Theory LP (Dark Entries DE027)
Dark Entries returns to the New Jersey basement studio to unearth another compilation cassette recordings by Smersh titled “Super Heavy Solid Waste”. Smersh was the duo of Mike Mangino and Chris Shepard, who began making music together in the late 70s. They were uninterested in traditional notions of songwriting or live performance. Everything they needed was in Piscataway NJ: a basement full of analog gear, a Roland TR-606 (the same “Roland” who was listed as a member of Big Black), a SH-09 (Cabaret Voltaire’s favorite synth), and a TB-303 (the sound of acid house). Most Monday nights, they would write a new song from scratch. A couple hours later, the song was recorded, never to be performed again.
By 1981, this dedication to spontaneous creativity had already produced countless recordings, and the duo began releasing cassettes as Smersh via their own Atlas King label. A definitive Smersh discography may not even be possible, but one lists more than 30 Atlas King cassettes. As these tapes traded their way across continents, Smersh developed a devoted following in places far beyond Piscataway, leading to releases on dozens of other labels from around the globe. Smersh’s sound is a lush hybrid of techno, industrial, dance, and experimental. Sometimes easy, sometime not. Most songs revolve around driving EBM style beats, intricate industrial noise manipulation and synth melodies. The Smersh sound has so many faces it doesn’t fall into any one category. For “Super Heavy Solid Waste” we have selected 8 songs, focusing on the harder, harsher, rhythmic side of Smersh’s vast discography. Spanning a ten year period, 1983-1993, this the first time all but one of these songs are appearing on vinyl.
Each song has been carefully remastered from the cassette originals for vinyl by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley. The vinyl comes housed in a sludge-infused jacket designed by Eloise Leigh, using art motifs and textures sourced from their original cassettes, as well an 11×11 offset printed insert.