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Ugly Talk

ROBERT RENTAL Mental Detentions

CD album | gg392
Robert Rental was a British pioneer of the post-punk DIY industrial electronic music scene in the United Kingdom. Originally from Port Glasgow, Scotland, he moved to the south of England with Thomas Leer in the late 1970s, and became involved with the local music scene. Robert Rental however released very little of his solo music, preferring to collaborate with Thomas Leer, as well as with Daniel Miller. The only solo recording from The 1970s is the 7" single "Paralysis" first released on the homemade Regular Records, then re-released on Company Records in 1978. Mental Detentions was released as a cassette in 1979, the same year as his masterpiece The Bridge with Thomas Leer (who also features on several tracks on this album). It is an album full of electronic songs ranging from abstract Industrial to rhythmic proto pop. Robert spoke to friends of his frustration at being unable to replicate his sound in a commercial studio – it was these demos’ sound that he wanted to create. Sometimes having only access to the most rudimentary of equipment can hone the creative talent into something sharper and more focused – necessity is the mother of invention, indeed. Full tracklist: 1. Colourblind 2. Stuck 3. Both Ends Meet 4. Ugly Talk 5. Untitled 6. Vox Scientific 7. Untitled 8. Untitled. Price: € 18,-/copy incl. worldwide shipping.

Rentals music here also is far removed from the world of pop music, or ballads, and closer to the likes of Throbbing Gristle or Chris Carters solo work. Each of the eight pieces (save, perhaps, for the final piece, the short Untitled, which is more an unfinished loop/sketch/idea) is a dense cloud of electronics, buzzing and (re-)charging, in which radio plays a role, found sound (or not?), such as in Vox Scientific. Rentals music here is even more experimental than his LP with Thomas Leer, but sharing that early industrial ambient rust with some of that LPs more extended pieces.
(Vital Weekly, February 2022)

Gdyby Mental Detentions ukazał się na płycie w 1979 roku, można by go postawić w jednym rzędzie z wydanym dwa lata wcześniej Second Annual Report Throbbing Gristle czy pochodzącym z tego samego roku Mix-Up Cabaret Voltaire. Jedyne co różni te zestawy, to fakt, że muzyka Roberta Rentala brzmi bardziej surowo. Nic w tym dziwnego: w przeciwieństwie do swych kolegów, nagrywał on swój materiał nie w profesjonalnym studiu, ale w domowych warunkach. Ale taki właśnie był Rental: nie chciał polerować swych nagrań i celowo nadawał im taki chałupniczy charakter.
(Nowa Muzyka, March 2022)

The overall mood captured here is the bleak, post-punk atmosphere of late 70s England, unlike German Krautrock musicians who escaped into fantasy realms with help of spacey electronics this is minimal, existential and purist stuff close to early Cabaret Voltaire. All instrumental with the exception of some sampled radio voices Vox Scientific and a vague pastoral choir on the first Untitled track. Thomas Leer is also credited as being featured unspecifically.
(Chain DLK, April 2022)

The album kicks off with the wavering and sinister denseness of Colourblind which mixes constantly churning lows with noisily oscillating mids and swirling-to-grating highs. We have the angular tick-tocking meets nostalgic harmonic flow and bob of Ugly Talk. (...) Before this release, I d never heard of Robert Rental, and it certainly deserves its place in early electronica/industrial sound-making history.
(Musique Machine, August 2022)