PURVEYORS OF FINE PRODUCT
Neutron Records started out in Sheffield in late 70s by Stephen Singleton, Mark White and David Sydenham (later replaced by Martin Fry), then formed as the minimalist electronic avantgarde ensemble Vice Versa.
In their anarchic beginnings, the label itself was conceived an independent, marking a distinctive path between music and packaging, regarding their material as manifestos focusing around subversive matters of the post-modern and anti-art principles. Although fairly obscure as the Sheffield underground scene ran predominantly local, Vice Versa still succeeded in gaining particular public attention with their own blend of electronic pop tendencies, largely inspired by the fellow-Sheffield group, Cabaret Voltaire.
As purveyors of fine product, Neutron made sharp, intelligent statements for the new decade - Vice Versa's 'Music 4' (7" EP, NT001) is a brilliant piece of electronic pop linked with cut-up statements on social decadence. It also won a famous 'single of the week' line in NME, much to the surprise of the group. Further two releases, even more ambitious in that matter were a set of prints and a manifesto (NT002), to be finally concluded with a semi-legendary six-sided fold out '1980: The First Fifteen Minutes' (7" EP, NT003)
- alongside Vice Versa, further three then-local groups - Clock DVA, The Stunt Kites and I'm So Hollow contributed one track each for their first proper vynil exposure before getting their own record deals ever after.
Another recognition in the press followed as the EP won sympathies regarding conceptual originality of the label. However this wasn't enough in comparison to the frustration with their lack of promotion which led to Neutron become distributed by the major marketing facility Phonogram, in 1980. Before their big step towards populism as an ambitious lush pop-project ABC, Vice Versa made two more releases - an excellent cassette '8 Aspects of' followed by another vynil cut for the two tracks, 'Stilyagi/Eyes of Christ' (7", BBR 003) remixed from the very cassette at the Backstreet/Backlash studio in Rotterdam. Neutron Records continued its run of releases throughout the 80s mostly for the group themselves, transforming from a small, short-lived anarchic label into a Phonogram subsidiary and finally evolving into their own song publisher (Neutron Songs). The rest is history. [electrogarden.com]