Smersh was the duo of Mike Mangino and Chris Shepard from Piscataway, NJ who began making music together in 1978. They were uninterested in traditional notions of songwriting or live performance. Between 1981 and 1993 they released over 40 cassette albums on their own Atlas King imprint. As these tapes traded their way across continents, Smersh developed a devoted following in places far beyond New Jersey, leading to releases on dozens of other labels from around the globe. “Sideways” was taken from a cassette titled ‘100’, which refers to a 100-minute jam session the band recorded to tape on June 12, 1989 in Piscataway. The track was composed and performed by Mike, utilizing a Roland TB-303, TR-606, SH-09 and an ARP 2600. A frenetic hybrid of techno and acid with driving EBM style beats, “Sideways” weaves intricate industrial noises with synth melodies that drift in and out of phase. On the flip are two fresh remixes by different aliases of prolific Ann Arbor producer Tadd Mullinix. As JTC, he expands the sound palette, adding organ stabs and lush pads, drawing on Detroit deep house and UK garage.The Charles Manier remix features chanted vocals on top of an array of pulsating synths, stark percussion, and post-punky guitar effects. Each song has been carefully remastered for vinyl by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley. The record is sleeved in a replica of the ‘100’ artwork, which designer Eloise Leigh modified using motifs and textures sourced from the original cassette. Also included is an oversized postcard with notes.
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