Unauthorised and unofficial, the Light Sounds Dark label curates forgotten sounds from decades past. Ranking much higher than your average bootleg label, the superior sleeve art and error-ridden track-listings never give up their secrets willingly.
Masonic symbols are wild on the logo, even the sleeves of the arms feature a capital ‘M’. What this has to do with the price of fish I’m not sure.
I first became aware of the label when visiting the much-missed Rounder Records shop in Brighton around 2009. The above compilation looked ‘weird’ and just the sort of thing I go for. Not that I’ve ever smoked a ‘sherm stick’ (foul drug born of desperation, cigarettes dipped in formaldehyde or, more usually, PCP or Angel Dust). For some reason that I still haven’t fathomed I bought both this and the follow-up as downloads and not on vinyl - which is a pity as they’re very hard to find now.
The two ‘Sherm’ compilations range far and wide from oddball’ 70s funk and cod-reggae through bubblegum psychedelia, throwaway b-side strangeness (you know, the side where the band could really ‘express themselves’) and European no-wave oddities.
Mostly, but not exclusively by any means, the LSD catalogue mines forgotten treasure buried in 1980s cassette-only releases. Bedroom synth exponents and Belgian cold-wave ‘bands’ entertain with their strange, muffled, lo-fi experiments. One-finger pulse-beat over tin-can drum machine. If you’ve heard the Minimal Wave Tapes and Cold Wave comps put out over the past few years by Stones Throw and Angular you’ll know the territory - but in my opinion the Light Sounds Dark crew have a better ear by far.
The above two compilations come highly recommended featuring extremely listenable and inventive music. No sleeve notes, just a track-listing (quite often wrong). Listening through to the selections it’s possible to imagine that they were all recorded by one mighty meta-band.
The latest emanation from the LSD stable is this three LP monolith. Inscrutable gatefold mirrored sleeve housing six sides (two clear vinyl/ one black disc) of unnamed bands and untitled tracks (possibly to avoid copyright infringement, who knows?) Sold out in the blink of an eye with reports of only 200 or 300 pressed. I’m guessing that most of it is cassette-only releases from the ’80s but really - I’m not sure. The second clear disc veers off into spaced-out desert-scape electro-ethno ‘jazz’ territory. Spare and minimal, it’s really gripping stuff. With 24 tracks on six sides… one has to ask… how much more of this kind of thing is still out there?