Saturday, March 06, 2021

Eyeless In Gaza: Voice - The Best Of Eyeless In Gaza (Recolections 1980 - 1986) 1993

Eyeless In Gaza are an English musical duo of Martyn Bates and Peter Becker, based in Nuneaton,

Warwickshire. They have described their music as "veer[ing] crazily from filmic ambiance to rock and pop, industrial funk to avant-folk styles." Formed in 1980, the group went into hiatus in 1987, re-emerging in 1993.
Named for Aldous Huxley’s ode to pacifist integrity, England’s Eyeless in Gaza consisted of

guitarist Martyn Bates and bassist/keyboardist Peter Becker,
both credited with voice and instrumentation on the first album, a better- than-decent stab at hook-filled spareness. The tasteful music is marred only occasionally by overly anguished vocals.

Becker, a laboratory technician, had played in a covers band before buying and experimenting with a Wasp synthesizer (he released a solo cassette-album in June 1980 and a second a year later). Bates, a

hospital worker, had previously been in a very early lineup of the unclassifiable Coventry-based band Reluctant Stereotypes, and also released a cassette of experimental electronic music in 1979. Shortly afterwards they met (after having both been turned down for membership in Nuneaton's Bron Area) and together they formed Eyeless In Gaza, both contributing vocals and several instruments.
The band name is a reference to the novel Eyeless in Gaza by Aldous Huxley (which in turn was
influenced by John Milton's Samson Agonistes). Bates has said he chose the name "for the sound of it.... I was reading the Huxley book when I met Pete.... It sounded perfectly nice." But Bates has also acknowledged an allusion to the "biblical myth" of Samson, saying, "I feel attracted by religion. I feel that people don’t pay enough attention to the spiritual side of their life; it is a very interesting side of the human psychism and it fascinates me." (Interview in Les Inrockuptibles, number 14, 1988)

After two further albums for Cherry Red, Drumming the Beating Heart (1982) and Rust Red September (1983), they added Aztec Camera drummer Dave Ruffy for the more pop-oriented single "Welcome

Now" (1985), recruiting former Sinatras/In Embrace drummer Joby Palmer for the next album, Back from the Rains. They toured with Depeche Mode in 1986. Bates and Becker collaborated with Anne Clark on her album The Law Is an Anagram of Wealth and later also on To Love & Be Loved. In 1991 Bates formed Hungry I with former Primitives bassist/guitarist Steve Dullahan.

[ Review by Ned Raggett  
Supplanting earlier compilations as the definitive study of Eyeless in Gaza's initial existence, Voice ranges from the spiky post-punk extremes of "Kodak Ghosts Run Amok" to the winning pop-focused

aims of "Between These Dreams." Assembled more or less in chronological order, it's a perfect snapshot of the duo's slow evolution toward a more delicate style and delivery, with nearly every song a highlight of the continuing Bates/Becker partnership. Hearing Bates' earlier, near-voice-shredding delivery and the stripped-down sounds of quiet drones, early synths and rhythm boxes from Becker makes for an instructive listen for those more familiar with the more immediately accessible and involved work of the Rust Red September and Back from the Rains days.

The combination of strange, unearthly guitar from Bates and Becker's technology sometimes suggests what might have happened had the Durutti Column and early Depeche Mode collaborated. "Speech

Rapid Fire" might just be the best synth-pop song few have ever heard, while "Invisibility" lets Bates display what happens when vocal passion doesn't equal "look at me" pretension. Hearing how the band tested out new arrangements, unusual melodies, and a persistent, low-key reinvention makes a great object lesson for how expanding ambitions can work rather than causing someone to artistically stumble.

A complete lyric sheet shows well how Bates' atypical lyric approach, many times avoiding rhymes, reads as well as it sounds -- a rarity in music. A thorough discography, up to date as of the disc's 1993 appearance, and some archival photos complete the overall package, making Voice the best entry point for those new to the band.]

Eyeless In Gaza – Voice · The Best Of Eyeless In Gaza (Recollections 1980–1986)
Label: Cherry Red – cd bred 104, Cherry Red – cdbred 104, Cherry Red – CD BRED 104
Format: CD, Compilation
Country: UK
Released: Oct 25, 1993
Genre: Electronic, Rock
Style: New Wave, Avantgarde


01. Kodak Ghosts Run Amok
02. No Noise
03. Seven Years
04. From A To B
05. Speech Rapid Fire
06. Invisibility
07. Others
08. Rose Petal Knot
09. Out From The Day-To-Day
10. Transience Blues
11. Picture The Day
12. Two
13. Veil Like Calm
14. One By One
15. Pencil Sketch
16. Through Eastfields
17. Changing Stations
18. Corner Of Dusk
19. Drumming The Beating Heart
20. New Risen
21. Sun Bursts In
22. Welcome Now
23. Back From The Rains
24. Lilt Of Music
25. Evening Music
26. Between These Dreams

MP3 @ 320 Size: 164 MB
Flac   Size: 424 MB


  1. Hola,

    "Eyeless In Gaza" is a strophe from John Milton's poem "Paradise Lost", which Huxley certainly had to read at college.



  2. Hi, great blog, always interested to see your posts.
    Just thought I would point out that one photo (opposite text "The band name is a reference to the novel Eyeless in Gaza by Aldous Huxley") looks to me like The Passage, who are also worth checking out.

    1. Hello dchughes62. You're right. Many thanx for your comment. Cheers from Athens, GREECE.

  3. Many thanks for this one. Looking forward to listening to it.