"New Mind are the aural equivalent to physical torture, a technological statement on the darkness in the human soul." -- Sadisque Records Press Release.
"There are many ways of escaping from that which one fears and not the least of theseis hatred." -- Jonathan Sharp.
Formed in October
1990, New Mind encompasses the creative talents of Jonathan Sharp. Based
in Cumbria, England, New Mind has released five full length albums, two
singles and several remixes.
Recording and production take place at New Mind HQ, also located in Cumbria. Contrary to conflicting information about personnel on the sleeve of 'Fractured' New Mind has ALWAYS been solely the work of Jonathan Sharp (hereafter Sharp).
1991 saw the release of the 'Body Politic' 12" EP on Sadisque records. It has subsequently been deleted and is nearly impossible to find. Consisting of four tracks, it showed at an early stage what exactly was going on in the mind of Sharp. Frequently compared to FLA, circa the 'Gashed Senses' period, it was much more than that if one chose to look beyond the beats and synth lines pulsating all around. The EP drew favourable response in several reviews, some of which we have been able to find and compile for you here. Also released was the track 'Incision' on the 'Spreading The Virus' compilation CD which still has yet to see the light of day on any of Sharp's full-length releases. Not much else transpired for the rest of 1991 as New Mind were recording tracks for an upcoming full-length which was originally to be issued on Sadisque records; unfortunately that never materialized which left Sharp without an outlet to release his work.
1992 was the year which Dossier records released their (his) compilation CD entitled "Dossiers". Several artists were included on the track list, one of them being New Mind. Two tracks 'Ice Dream' and 'Walls' were placed on the disc (which Sharp shared ironically with FLA) further fuelling the comparisons between the two bands. Sharp continued work on his debut CD which by now had the working title of "Fractured". It was at this time that Machinery records began to take interest in New Mind by offering Sharp a contract to record for them.
In 1993, New Mind officially signed to Machinery under the sub-division of Think Tank, an offshoot of the parent label designed to explore more intricate music. The contract was for five CDs and three CDS originally. 'Fractured' was released later that year. Made up of thirteen tracks, it immediately made an impression on the industry. Most critics were so sure it would sound like FLA (even though they'd never heard New Mind) that they were disgusted by the fact that they had been proven wrong. The debut silenced those who thought New Mind to be nothing more than a Puppy/FLA clone. Its chaotic textures and bizarre arrangements threw some much needed madness into the stagnant scene. 'Fractured' remains New Mind's most extreme work to date. Tracks such as 'Like Love' and 'Enviro 2' show the maniacal force driving the New Mind machine. During this time MFTEQ released their 'Ghafran' CD compilation with accompanying book chock full of interviews. New Mind contributed the track 'Oilgod' to the disc, and needless to say it is as bitter as any material on 'Fractured'.
1994 found New Mind back in the studio recording the follow-up to 'Fractured'. It was at this point that the relationship between New Mind and Machinery records began to disintegrate. Sharp repeatedly tried to contact Machinery; specifically Jor who ran the label. Sharp's faxes remained unanswered and New Mind began to stagnate. When some of the New Mind demos for the next album were actually listened to by Machinery, the response was "Quit making ambient disco music!". Sharp sarcastically describes the whole thing as "An experience." He goes on to say: " Jor was never there and his girlfriend Anna basically ran the label and yet couldn't do anything without Jor's approval." Also adding fuel to the less than harmonious arrangement was the fact that Machinery "decided" that New Mind was not a live band and refused to assist in the booking of live dates for the band. Sharp grew tired of Machinery, and by the end of the year New Mind was the first in what would be a long list of bands to leave Machinery records.Subsequently, Machinery has since shriveled so who is laughing now?
In 1995 New Mind
signed with the UK label Cyber-Tec records and got a licensing deal with
Fifth Colvmn records in the United States. The second album was further
delayed by the fact that many problems which had been lying in the background
for a while exploded all at once. Sharp was basically left with no place
to record due to the fact that the studio he had been using disintegrated
and he had to start over with nil. A very expensive process ensued and
New Mind emerged with equipment once more, although much lighter in the
pocket. Once again ensconced in the studio, Sharp worked on the new
album as the public pretty much forgot who New Mind were and dismissed
the band as yet another FLA rip-off. Towards the summer of 1995 'Zero To
The Bone' was released and threw the critics another curve they weren't
ready for. This time the album contained fourteen tracks and was based
on more structured layering with some of the most beautiful female vocals
heard yet to date. 'Zero...' shows the sampling talents of Sharp with tracks
such as '3angel' and 'Turn to Stone' being based on snippets of dialogue
with twisted synth work underpinning them. The second release also finally
clears up any doubt as to who is in New Mind by showing that Jonathan is
responsible for it all. Some critics take issue with the album's sleeve
which features stills from the movie 'Tetsuo II: Bodyhammer' but one only
has to listen to the track 'Touch (can't afford to be a woman)' to see
that these accusations of glorifying the rape and murder of women are groundless.
Also on the album is the first ever appearance of 'Gunhed' a New
Mind side-project more focused on the techno end of the musical spectrum.
The Gunhed remix of 'Left To Fade' differs radically from the New Mind
version and shows a glimmer of what lies just beneath the surface of the
Sharp's compositional style. It's difficult to say which tracks stand out,
as they all are intricately wrought with the most precise production and
execution; many genres are incorporated on 'Zero...' and it is this concept
which places New Mind out in front of many others. Sharp refuses to be
bound to one particular style, much to the critics dismay. Still, by the
end of the year, New Mind is once again looking for a new label as the
relationship between Sharp and Cyber-Tec has all but disintegrated.
During 1995 Sharp also became involved in the Cyber-Tec project with Jed Denton and Jean-Luc DeMeyer. The band released one maxi-ep before Sharp is "replaced" by Marc Heal of Cubanate. The whole thing leaves Sharp more exasperated with the record industry than ever before, and also fuels some bad blood between Cyber-Tec records and New Mind. By the end of 1995, New Mind is once again label shopping. Royalties for the Cyber-Tec maxi are yet to be received by Sharp...
1996 - Based upon rough demos and much anger with Cyber-Tec, Sharp initiates a by-mail collaboration with Sevren Ni-Arb of X Marks the Pedwalk. Initially to contain remixes by cEVIN Key and others, the Hyperdex-1-Sect ep entitled "Metachrome" is released in mid '96 and contains two remixes by XMTP and two by New Mind. Four original compositions 'Mind', 'Les Amantes', 'Hear Nothing', and 'Death Is Not The End' encompass the release. This project is quite different from anything New Mind had previously done and is rather, dare it be said, melodic. Sharp contributes programming alone, leaving the vocals and additional programming to XMTP. A full-length album entitled 'Xenachrome' is under contract and is expected to be released sometime in the future. Emerging in '96 also, is another project of Sharp's entitled Bio-Tek. It is envisioned by Sharp to allow him to create straight-up EBM. "A God Ignored Is A Demon Born" is put out later in '96 by Zoth Ommog and prompts once again the idiotic comparisons to FLA. Sharp ignores this and presses on. Stand out tracks would definitely include 'Human Weapon', 'Die-Sect', and 'Ashes', but in truth, every song on this album is an experience. This release is as brilliant as it is brutal. Two remixes are also included in the package: 'Die-Sect' remixed by the ever-amazing !AiBoFoRcEn<- and another remix of 'Die-Sect' by the under-appreciated VNV Nation. Its arrangements are very unusual harkening back to the psychosis of 'Fractured' but with much more streamlined production. Yet another spin-off of Sharp's called Hexedene released a demo, which featured at the time Katie Helsby on vocals with another gentleman named Ian Palmer assisting Sharp with the music. This line-up did not last however as Sharp's collaborators were lured away by a major label with the promise of "success".
In 1997, after a bit of an absence from releases (and another label changed) New Mind re-emerged in mid '97 with their third album. '"Forge" was released on Off Beat records and contains 11 new songs. Leading off the assault is the bile-ridden 'Providence', a short but angry tune with pounding percussion and get-what-you-deserve lyrics. 'LD 100' follows with minimal psychosis and hateful vocals. When you think that he's going to pursue this concept for the entire album, 'Furnace' fires off and beats you into the ground with a ruthless beat and visceral guitars. Previous use of this instrument has been limited generally to one song per New Mind album, but now they are unleashed to their fullest. Accentuating the songs instead of driving them, Sharp avoids the pitfall of guitar use which pretty much made his "mentors" FLA outcasts in the electro-genre. Once more critics make the groundless comparisons to FLA. Sharp takes no notice of it and plays a few dates with the mesmerizing Haujobb to the acclaim of fans all over the UK. During 1997, Sharp also manages to acquire the rights to most of his back catalogue and plots for their re-release as he had originally intended them to be put out. 'Forge' will be released domestically soon and 'Zero To The Bone' along with 'Fractured' will also be re-released in the future. With the New Mind album generating mayhem in the music-buying public's mind, Sharp puts out another equally vicious full-length. 'Darkness My Name Is' is sent forth late in 1997 again on Zoth Ommog. Bio-Tek's second release is given a surprisingly much warmer reception by the critics . No remixes this time, just 11 songs to make murder feel a little less institutionalized. 'Communion' strikes a solid blow to christianity in general and others such 'Hate Like A Fire', 'Veronika Voss', 'Murderworld', 'City of Steel', and 'Thorns' also make their point. Amazing work from Sharp once more, and he has planned a remix disc entitled 'Steel On Skin' for release early in 1998 along with another full-length Bio-Tek album. The cover and sleeve are twisted B&D imagery which serve to uncover perhaps another facet of Sharp's endeavors; and then again maybe just something to make the critics talk about.
1998 brought us the full-length release
by the 'Hexedene' project entitled 'Choking on Lilies'. A thoroughly BRILLIANT
release. This was released on Reconstriction records of Southern
California. 98 also featured releases by Sharp under the names 'Tryophex14'
and 'Psionic' both of which deserve to be listened to intensely. On a related
note, Sharp's ex-bandmates in Cyber-Tec FINALLY put out their album
'Darker' and Sharp's absence from the project was glaring. Comments were
forwarded to me by a friend of mine who "witnessed" C-Tec in Seattle, Washington
and Mr. Denton obviously has some jealousy issues to work out. Why not
pay the man already!? 'Metachrome' was re-released in the States
by 21st Circuitry and contains the much-anticipated Key remixes. O-Files
3 was released to the eager public . Additional 'Psionic' material also
is in the works and will emerge in due course. The Mission Control OL staff
added an immense band list for your perusing pleasure. Caveat Emptor! 'Deepnet'
, the fourth NEW MIND album was released to the eager ears of fans worldwide.
This fourth release also was re-done and re-worked for a domestic American
release as the mighty OffBeat records folded that year. Stylistically more
of a return to the complicated mayhem of the second release, this new work
gave listeners the chance to truly hear what aces Jonathan had up his very
wily sleeves. Unfortunately, due to OffBeat's folding at coincidentally
just the wrong time resulted in very little press for this truly overwhelming
new entry in the NEW MIND saga.
Perhaps a blessing is disguise, the critics have had to play catch up once again with Sharp as most of them did not get the album until close to a year after it was released. The few reviews which we at MISSION saw seem to have them reluctantly admitting that they had it wrong all along. A more accurate account of DeepNet can be perused in the reviews section of the MISSION site. Not to outdone by OffBeat, Re-Constriction also ended their run. Hexedene's debut was re-released through Matrix-Cube and is currently more likely to be found in Europe...Many reviews of this album were quite flattering but once again, the critics couldn't put all of the pieces together and realise that the band was pretty much going through major changes. Katie and Ian left the band in 98 and Jonathan began the recruitment of other members for this project. The split was a good one as Katie and Ian wished to concentrate upon their own project. Having heard some of it, it becomes quite clear why they left. The next Hexedene release of a maxi containing remixes was announced. Thus 98 wrapped up as being not so bad of a year for NEW MIND.
1999 sees the release of the third Bio-Tek album: Punishment For Decadence. Comprised of nine works, this new album presented a much more fluid sound for Bio-Tek. The nuances of EBM remain there but the over all sound is one of a much more refined electro band. Reviews are published of which most are quite taken with the new album but there will always be those nitpicking few who ought not be writing reviews, chartered accounting might be more their line of work. In a rather odd gesture, the first release of the new Dependent label features a remix of one of the tracks from DEEPNET, We Can be Together. Strangely, the fourth New Mind album is currently out of print outside of the United States. Takshaka make their debut with the ep 20 Minutes Into the Future. A fascinating blend of precision timed chaos and mechanized menace, this ep assures the world once more that they had best not think Sharp has no cards left to play. Don't look for the other foot to fall. Work continued on the much-anticipated Hexedene remix ep during the year and Hexedene played to several riveted audiences in the UK. Count yourself lucky indeed if you have seen them live. The revised version of Choking On Lillies was made available during the year as well. Sharp executed several remixes which are to be released on their artists respective remix releases in due course. Still no royalties for Sharp from the smasher which broke c-tec 'Let Your Body Die' although a remix ep by cybertec records chameleon-like label head paul greene is indeed planned for the near future. The press release for it contained the following statement about Sharp: 'All new remixes of the dance floor hit written by that genius Jonathan Sharp.' Ironic words from a man who wrote Sharp off.
2000- Bio-Tek's third album 'Punishment for Decadence' was released through Doppler Effect records to an almost completely enthralled public. Work began on the fifth New Mind release and shows were played under the Hexedene and Takshaka nom de plumes. Sharp carries on with plans for the next Hexedene album 'Bullet Proof Divas'.
2001- The fifth New Mind album 'Phoenix' is released via Doppler Effect records. Consisting of older tracks that were unissued as well as newer works never heard before, this release is a fine retrospective to a band that has always pushed the limits in electronic music.
2002 - New albums due from Bio-tek and Takshaka. Several new projects in development. New Mind set to return!!