Friday, February 14, 2020

Clock DVA: Thirst 1981

Clock DVA are an industrial, post-punk, and EBM group from Sheffield, England. They formed in 1978 by Adolphus "Adi" Newton and Steven "Judd" Turner. Along with contemporaries Heaven 17, Clock DVA's name was inspired by the Russian-influenced Nadsat of Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange. Dva is Russian for "two".

One of the first groups to arise during the formation of the Sheffield Electronic Scene, Adi Newton formed the first lineup of Clock DVA, after his departure from The Future (the other members of which would go on to form The Human League and Heaven 17,) in 1978 with Judd Turner (bass), David J. Hammond (guitar), Roger Quail (drums) and Charlie Collins (saxophone, clarinet) in 1978 (the term 'DVA,' [meaning 'two' in Russian] was inspired by Anthony Burgess' satirical science fiction novel, 'A Clockwork Orange.')

Originally focusing on experimental music inspired by science fiction and the occult (with the latter fading as time went on) and later reflecting the burgeoning industrial and electronic body music that had begun seeping into underground music scenes on both sides of the Atlantic.

After a handful of privately produced cassettes (most of which have since been collected in the 'Horology' boxed sets of lps from the German label Vinyl-On-Demand) the band released a cassette on Throbbing Gristle's Industrial Records label. "White Souls In Black Suits" features Founder members Adi Newton ( vocals, violin, EMS Synthi E, tapes), Steven James "Judd" Turner (bass, vocals, treatments, rhythm machine, ex-Block Opposite), and the original guitarist David J. Hammond (guitar/treatments).

Two additional musicians were added to the line up, Roger Quail (drums) and Charlie Collins (saxophones, flute, and percussion,) and featured a sound much more in line with their contemporaries outside of the Sheffield scene (which had gravited to a smoother more pop oriented sound, for the most part.) The first formalised DVA line up also featured Simon Mark Elliot-Kemp on synthesiser.

In 1981, David J Hammond left and guitarist Paul Widger joined in 1980. The following album, "Thirst," was produced by Psychic TV producer Ken Thomas and released through the independent Record label Fetish (and was cited, by the NME Journalist Paul Morley, as one of the great albums of the 80's alongside Joy Division's "Unknown Pleasures" and The Falls "Dragnet".) 

Newton had previously worked with members of Cabaret Voltaire in a collective called The Studs and with Ian Craig Marsh and Martyn Ware in a band called The Future. He formed the first lineup of Clock DVA in 1978 with Judd Turner (bass), David J. Hammond (guitar), Roger Quail (drums) and Charlie Collins (saxophone, clarinet) (born 26 September 1952, Sheffield).

Clock DVA was originally known for making a form of experimental electronic music involving treated tape loops and synthesizers such as the EMS Synthi E. Clock DVA became associated with industrial music with the 1980 release of their cassette album White Souls in Black Suits on Throbbing Gristle's Industrial Records.

Paul Widger joined on guitar. The LP Thirst, released on Fetish Records, followed in 1981 to a favourable critical reaction, knocking Adam and the Ants' Dirk Wears White Sox from the top of the NME Indie Charts, by which time the band had combined musique concrète techniques with standard rock instrumentation. "4 Hours", the single from Thirst, was later covered by former Bauhaus bassist David J on his 1985 solo EP Blue Moods Turning Tail.

Thirst is one of the best post-punk albums of 1981, and "4 Hours" is on par with "Final Solution" and "That's When I Reach For My Revolver" as an anthem of disaffection from society. At the time, the band had a conventional guitar/bass/drums lineup (with the addition of dissonant saxophone and clarinet). The album is unlike what came before it (the improvisatory White Souls In Black Suits) or afterward (the electronic Clock DVA of 1989-1993).
The entire band left after Thirst to form a new group called The Box, and vocalist Adi Newton formed a new Clock DVA for the next record, Advantage. Allmusic's biography links to a French-Canadian band called The Box, but the ex-DVA members actually went here:
Turner died in September 1981 due to an accidental drug overdose.

In 1982, Newton formed a new version of the band. First releasing the single "High Holy Disco Mass" on the major label Polydor Records under the name DVA, the band then released the album Advantage (with singles "Resistance" and "Breakdown") under the name Clock DVA. After a European tour in 1983, however, the band split acrimoniously. Adi Newton went on to form The Anti-Group or T.A.G.C. They released several albums continuing in a similar vein to the early Clock DVA, yet more experimental.

In 1987, Newton reactivated DVA and invited Dean Dennis and Paul Browse back into the fold to aid Newton's use of computer aided sampling techniques which he had been developing in The Anti Group.
Adi Newton reactivated Clock DVA along with his creative partner Jane Radion Newton in 2008.
In September 2016 Clock DVA performed a series of live dates in the United States.


01.     Uncertain     7:58
02.     Sensorium     3:22
03.     White Cell     4:33
04.     Piano Pain     3:46
05.     Blue Tone     4:59
06.     North Loop     4:54
07.     4 Hours     4:36
08.     Moments     7:36
09.     Impressions Of African Winter     6:23
10.     4 Hours (Original Single Mix)     4:48
11.     Sensorium (Original Single Mix)     3:21


    Bass – Turner
    Composed By – DVA
    Design [Sleeve] – Neville Brody
    Drums – Roger Quail
    Engineer – Ken Thomas
    Guitar – Paul Widger
    Liner Notes – Genesis P. Orridge
    Lyrics By – A. Newton
    Producer – ClockDVA, Ken Thomas
    Saxophone, Flute – Charlie Collins
    Voice, Clarinet, Tape – Adi Newton


Active, then immobility
I am myself
Against their laws of morality
I turn towards the eastern block
Create a new mental space
Carve out an area which is undefined
Begins to work
Then wheels turn
Juliette invades my dreams
Nature is benign
Darkness is sweeter than earths red wine

In my white cell
Nothing is right
Imprisoned, I make my own world suffer
For sensory deprivation increased my will
Their cruelty is ironic
For my pain is freedom against their will

I put pen to paper for my cause
Glorify my perversest thoughts
Four walls enclosed
I am alone to dwell on the darkest thoughs of man
Even though I could not exist I tried

120 days lost
And then complete
I ask for a non-religious funeral
But I am inturned in holy ground
Locked in endlessness in my white cell
As a person lost of sense and of will

In my white cell

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