Clock DVA ‎– White Souls In Black Suits

Industrial Records ‎– IRC 31
Cassette, C60


Companies, etc.


Compiled from about 15 hours of improvisational recording sessions.
Mail order version of the cassette included a 4 page/8 sided booklet containing images and words.

Other Versions (5 of 6) View All

Cat# Artist Title (Format) Label Cat# Country Year
EX 24 Clock DVA White Souls In Black Suits(LP, Album, RE) Italian Records EX 24 Italy 1982 Sell This Version
Conte 157 Clock DVA White Souls In Black Suits(LP, Album, Ltd, Num, RE, Cle) Contempo Records Conte 157 Italy 1990 Sell This Version
Conte 157 Clock DVA White Souls In Black Suits(LP, Album, RE) Contempo Records Conte 157 Italy 1990 Sell This Version
CONTEDISC 157 Clock DVA White Souls In Black Suits(CD, Album, RE) Contempo Records CONTEDISC 157 Italy 1990 Sell This Version
CONTE 157CD, CONTE 157 CD Clock DVA White Souls In Black Suits(CD, Album, RE) Contempo Records, Contempo Records CONTE 157CD, CONTE 157 CD Italy 1990 Sell This Version



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October 1, 2013
The first piece I ever heard by Clock DVA was "Final Program", which appeared on a late-night television programme earlier in the 90s. This particular piece (and its accompanying op-art video, interfered with found collage) had such a strong impact on me, that Clock DVA suddenly became a name to be obsessed by - investigating further, there already happened to be loads of their records available through local independent music shops of the time. Among them, of course, "Final Program" as well... and just as incredibly expensive a record to afford in all of its obscurity...

Why am I writing about a completely different piece of music in the context of one that stayed on the other side of their sound mirror spectrum?! Well, "White Souls In Black Suits" was another of these obscure LP finds, that lurked from the DVA's records rack with its clever, monochromatic sleeve. And thank God, I didn't bother with it then, because if only I fell for it, what a disappointment that would possibly have been. I could easily imagine myself listening to it in frustration - thinking, THIS is the band that made "Final Program"?!? Well, times change, so do we, growing up and all that jazz - and when the right moment came, I finally got enough courage to confront the DVA MK I (or better, one of their "MK I's" that rapidly came and went). The summer was just ending and one late-afternoon day in September 1994, having some extra cash to spend, "White Souls" was a CD of choice (and CDs at the time were amazing to purchase). Just turned 19, there was some strange urge to discover music that wasn't predominantly electronic - and prior to buying "White Souls", I already bought "Thirst" - and was amazed by it.

So, in retrospect, I guess I wanted something even more extreme.... and this strange "less is more" offer by the band seemed like an ideal introduction. In parallel, I accidentally also bought the book "Black Words On White Paper", which carried its similarities to the album - besides the deliberate inversion in the choice of title, this book featured exclusive photos and image work, plus most of DVA's lyrics up to "Buried Dreams" album - but above all, a special treat in the wake of a 4-track 5" CD, containing audio material, otherwise impossible to find or hear, with pieces dating back to the year 1978. Although stylistically this 4-track had little to do with "White Souls In Black Suits", in a way it is inevitably related. But I am digressing too much.

So, what the hell was so special about "White Souls" that only couple of years earlier I would have probably dismiss it for? Well, it was nowhere near the electronics that we know Clock DVA for, nor it was a "new wave" album that deservedly brought them to majors via "Thirst" and especially "Advantage" (the latter masterpiece is confusingly their biggest pop-effort that it was almost hard not to confuse them with ABC at that stage).

"White Souls" was simply a raw experiment that worked and didn't work at the same time - but altogether to great effect. Music which displays very rusty traces on their otherwise-electronic selves, only in favour of hard-core dub, jazz and funk music elements, disturbing and heavily improvised into a suicidal (film)noir-cocktail. Adi Newton's trademark singing (or better raging spoken word-type singing) was already at place, in lyrics that expressed his/the group's fascinations (if not entirely obsessions) with nihilism and dark matters... On a bizarre level, this is a beautifully intense ambient music - "Still/Silent" (which progresses to even more disturbing piece called "Non") sounding dangerously close to Throbbing Gristle's "Weeping" (off their "D. O. A" LP) which might be of no wonder, as TG were originally helping out DVA to release this (initially on cassette). "Disconsentment" is equally frightening in all of its claustrophobic beauty (the other half of it suddenly turns into a restless impro-jazz piece with lyrical denial of everything), but in terms of further ambiental excursions, the highlights are undoubtedly the amazing "Film Soundtrack (The Keyboards Assemble Themselves At Dawn)", which truly sounds like an early morning hangover, plus the closing number "Anti-Chance", which pushes the listener further into the white-noise field - where DVA team up with Cabaret Voltaire, sharing sound manipulation duties (again, easily fitting in with the Cabs' "1974-76" cassette content). "Relentless" (and in some way the opener "Consent") is the only example, revealing anything as close to what would have become of Thirst-era DVA. In production terms very raw, with merciless guitar noise and heavily processed percussion segments, but just as groovy a piece with proper song arrangement. Too bad this particular song was left to rot in such rusty confines, without considering a proper studio re-interpretation. While the record is stated to be a collection of studio-improvised work, "Contradict" is the only piece that stands up to it in such terms.

In total, it's fascinating how open to sound research Clock DVA were already at this early stage. Both, music and theory-wise and potent, despite the anarchic/confusion elements that hold "White Souls" together, they undoubtedly matured into sound philosophers of considerable charm. Newton in particular is more open for interpreting DVA as philosophy and not necessarily music.