Pylon Records Re-issues One Of Xymox Seminal Releases
Medusa is what turned Clan of Xymox into darkwave heroes. Yet, Twist of Shadows is what got the band mainstream attention. In 1989, the Holland group shaved its name down to Xymox and incorporated a more danceable and poppy element to their dark gothic undertones.
Songs like “Obsession” and “Imagination” were a rung in the ladder to the pinnacle of Xymox’s career and the MTV 120 Minutes crusher of “Phoenix,” but Twist of Shadows was like jet fuel to the band and now considered a revered moment in the time capsule of the band.
With Pylon Records’ re-release of Twist of Shadows in time for the 30th anniversary of its initial release, they beefed it up to a two-LP or two-CD culmination that adds in bonus tracks and some mixes, one being the club mix of “Obsession.”
Xymox – Obsession (Club Mix)
The swirling beats amplifies its purpose as a phantasmagoric dance floor synthesis, trading in icy string samples for warm, rhythmic pulses. “It’s got a hold on me,” Ronny Moorings turns those words into a breath of fresh air. This is the ‘80s at its most imaginative.
On a larger scale, “Imagination,” —Anka Wolbert’s vocal contribution—made it into music video mode, exemplifying with whimsy that “imagination keeps the shadows away.” What is fascinating is that this could have easily been the last song on the album thus putting a positive spin to the dark-laced prose that burns from the beginning and the Wordsworth prose of the ghostly image of “Evelyn.” Yet “Imagination” sits three songs to the end, pushing into a more intriguing and sleek synthwave elegance of “In The City,” turning the metropolis into a dark, futuristic playground.
Xymox – Imagination Music Video
“Imagination” is the band’s biggest commercial success, initially landing at 85 on the Billboard Hot 100. It never received a 12 inch or some kind of mix, standing at face value like a monument.
In Xymox fashion, “Clementina”— keyboardist Pieter Nooton’s only writing contribution for the album—sits like a memory, looking back at the Medusa days. Heavy on the synth and flowing like a passing notion wrapped in silk, the moonlit sounds punctuated by a thunderous snare builds a decadence of alluring premonition. The instrumental packages up beauty, love, loss, and sadness all into one culmination of a classical art. If you can capture the purity of human emotion in song, this is it. The struggle between the past and the a push to define the future, this is why “Clementina” is the last song on the album. It may best signify the possibility that Nooton was experiencing creative differences with the rest of the band, exiting the roster in 1991 after the release of Phoenix.
Pylon Records does this band and the history of gothic darkwave a service. The purity of the album exists with accent pieces like the bonus tracks of “Senses Coalesce,” “Promises” and “Shame” to the fold. That alone should glisten the eyes with a need to revisit the glory days of Xymox’s career changing album.