STM 153 - M!R!M

Jack Milwaukee) aka M!R!M
M!R!M photo by Chiara Gambuto

Between paranoia and bliss - mix by M!R!M of Fabrika Records explores raw guitar noises and subtle post-punk melodicism.

Between paranoia and bliss - mix by M!R!M of Fabrika Records explores raw guitar noises and subtle post-punk melodicism.

M!R!M is the project of a London-based artist Iacopo Bertelli (aka Jack Milwaukee), who moved there from Lucca, a small town in Tuscany, Italy. M!R!M’s sound lives on the fringes of sharp and cold soundscapes, monolithic shoegaze layers, and uptempo post punk energy. It captures the fragile combination of controlled punk aggression, no-wave chaos and idyllic beauty, all while standing on the precipice between melancholy and anxiety. M!R!M released the introverted angst-driven debut LP “Heaven” on Fabrika Records, and the recent hazy and dreamy 7” “Reel” on Manic Depression. It holds some stylistic relation to Bertelli’s shoegaze/dream pop project Leave The Planet, which he established together with Nathalie Bruno from Phosphor. Nathalie also participates in M!R!M’s live shows as a synth/bass player.

Secret Thirteen Mix 153 is a mix of Bertelli’s influences and sheds some light on the formation of his own sound. It celebrates the diversity of rough post-punk, synth and no-wave music released between 1978 and 2015. Kicking off with the tribal drum salves of early The Wake, the collection proceeds with the modern garage/lo-fi experiments of Blank Dogs, a solo project of Captured Tracks’ boss Mike Sniper. It resumes along this gritty line with the harsh guitar outbursts of 80’s no-wave act DNA (which included such notable artists as Arto Lindsay or Ikue Mori) and Glenn Branca’s Theoretical Girls. The second part follows a more melodic path with the catchy piece by the “154” era Wire, electrified Pale TV wave/punk and the groovy synth hooks of Oto. Finally the mix shifts towards latter-day talents with John Maus’ post-modern epic “We Can Breakthrough”, and the fresh post-punk experimentalism of Viet Cong, before ending abruptly with Pharmakon’s emotional industrial/power electronics explosion “Body Betrays Itself”.

The selection is reminiscent of the minimalist abstract elegance of Helmut Federle’s “Untitled (From Blue Sisters, Structures of Deviance)”. The color pallette in the image explores similar moods and tones, as well as has that raw feel of guitar intensity and thickness seen in an old blurred-out photograph - a balance between visual aggression and reverie.

I picked basically some of my biggest influences and some modern bands I enjoy listening to. The vibe is clearly post punk/no wave with shades of dark industrial sounds. Sometimes there are also melodies trapped inside these tunes (and it's something I actually really love). I also always loved bands that mixed electronic sounds with guitars/bass and/or real drums. It's a great mix of ''punk'' attitude with a more modern idea of making music. This genre is simply like a little getaway from a normal and indoctrinated society for me. I have always lived this as a straight reaction against conformity.

01. The Wake - Chance [Factory Benelux, 1984]
02. In Death It Ends - Forgotten Knowledge [aufnahme + wiedergabe, 2012]
03. Blank Dogs - Leaving The Light On [Sacred Bones Records, 2007]
04. Ministry - Stigmata [Sire, 1988]
05. Crave - Deadend [2011]
06. DNA - Not Moving [Antilles, 1978]
07. Theoretical Girls - You Got Me [Theoretical Records, 1978]
08. Wire - On Returning [Harvest, 1989]
09. Screamers - 122 Hours Of Fear [Extravertigo Recordings, 2001 - org. 1978]
10. Pale TV - Night Toys [Italian Records, 1981]
11. Suicide - Dance [Island Records, 1980]
12. oto - Anyway [Les Disques Du Soleil Et De L'Acier, 1984]
13. John Maus - We Can Breakthrough [Upset! The Rhythm, 2011]
14. Viet Cong - March Of Progress [Flemish Eye , 2015]
15. Pharmakon - Body Betrays Itself [Sacred Bones Records, 2014]

About Author

Paulius Ilevicius is a Secret Thirteen journalist, editor and occasional DJ focusing on more dreamy and melancholic soundscapes. Born in post-industrial town of Pavevezys, currently he lives and works in Vilnius, Lithuania.

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