Optic Sink

No wave Tennessee synthpunks

Who they?

A Memphis post-punk minimal synth act formed by vocalist and analogue freak Natalie Hoffmann (NOTS, Ex-Cult) in collaboration with percussionist Ben Bauermeister (A55 Conducta, Toxie). Their strict “no computers” approach is just the tonic, and hums with the kind of energy that will appeal to those with a penchant for brutalist anti-pop thrills – think Suicide meets Exploded View and Throbbing Gristle in a Berlin bunker club.

Why Optic Sink?

Their self-titled debut LP evokes the combative nihilism of New York’s late 70s underground scene, which Hoffmann’s detached vocals emphasise with glacial aplomb. There’s a cutting contemporary relevance at play too. “It’s about the evasive search for comfort, the human need to have freedom from pain,” Hoffmann says of the album. So on tracks like the intoxicating dark-dance call-to-arms ‘Girls In Grey’, you’ll hear her timeless put-down of android corporate conformism (“All those girls in grey / They hold up power every day / They’re no good”), while the tensely propulsive ‘Personified’ corners Trump’s America and destroys it under a relentless barrage of blinding strobelight.    

Tell us more…

Hoffmann cites Daniel Miller’s DIY recordings as The Normal among her keenest audio epiphanies, as well as hearing coldwave acts like Brighton’s Oppenheimer Analysis or Kraftwerk-influenced French duo Deux for the first time.  But she’s also in thrall to The Fall and influential early US punk acts like The Pagans and Easter Monkeys, who she heard for the first time when someone turned her onto the seminal 1982 comp ‘Cleveland Confidential’. You’ll hear echoes of all that on ‘Optic Sink’, as well as the sound of early Human League and Cabaret Voltaire. “Synthetic minimal music for now!” is their club slogan. Where do  we sign-up?

‘Optic Sink’ is out on Goner

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