Sometimes, you have to judge an album by its cover.
In the case of Identities by Infomatik, it’s an intricate jewel case wired with electronics.
I ran across a copy of the EP during a volunteer shift at Lifelong Thrift Store. The case was falling apart because the electronics had been dislodged. At first, I thought someone was crazy enough to ditch a copy of Tristan Perich’s 1-Bit Symphony, but a closer examination of the album credits ruled that out.
Then I had to wonder — what kind of band would go this amount of effort to craft such complex packaging?
I reached a dead end when I attempted to visit the band’s web site, which had long been surrendered to domain squatters. The Wayback Machine gives some hint of who this band was. A Google search on the band’s requires the use of quotations, otherwise Google will assume you want to search “informatik” instead of “infomatik”. (The best terms to use: “infomatik” band.)
In the mid-2000s, the band got a lot of good press in Seattle, eventually releasing a full-length album, Technologies. Obviously, Infomatik is no longer, the band’s members scattered to the wind and any evidence of their existence relegated to difficult web searches and a scant entry in Discogs.
It’s a pity.
Infomatik threw its hat into the ring of ’80s revivalism so prevalent at the time. The synths are grimy, the live beats as danceable as anything found in a machine, and the vocals a satisfying balance of deadpan and angst. They may descend from Killing Joke and Wire, but they understood what made those bands good.
I was so thoroughly impressed with Identify that I tracked down Technologies. All the tracks from Identify found their way to Technologies, but it’s none the worse for it.
In the mid-’00s, the infrastructure to get music online was in its infancy, so none of these releases are available through any of the usual digital services. As of this writing, a single copy each of Identify and Technologies are for sale on Discogs in the $30 range.
With my volunteer discount, I took Identify home for $0.83. I snagged the last remaining copy of Technologies on Amazon Marketplace for less than $2. The shipping cost more than the disc.