archival documentation of the post-industrial underground
Spectrum Magazine Archive 1998-2002
by Richard Stevenson
SPECTRUM COMPENDIUM – published February, 2019 by Headpress
Special hardcover edition only available via:
General release softcover version available from:
Cult Never Dies (UK)
Metropolis Bookshop (Aus)
+ all major international book stockists
Spectrum: Ambient/ Industrial/ Experimental Music Culture Magazine was one of the most well respected underground ‘zines dealing with post-industrial music in the late 1990s to early 2000s. Although produced and published in Melbourne Australia, Spectrum focused on the global scene and network of artists and labels operating at the time, with a particular focus on the dark ambient, death industrial, heavy electronics, power electronics, neo-classical, martial industrial and neo-folk genres of music.
With the benefit of hindsight, it is now apparent that Spectrum covered a very active period internationally which can now be considered as one of the critical eras for the development and evolution of the post-industrial movement. During its years of activity the five individual issues of Spectrum were distributed through an extensive underground network of artists, labels and mail-orders, but have long since been sold out, and unavailable other than as rare collectables.
Now 20 years on from the release of the first issue of Spectrum in 1998, Spectrum Compendium brings together reprints of all five issues, along with a wealth of interviews and reviews originally intended to be published in the planned but ultimately abandoned sixth issue of Spectrum.
SPECTRUM COMPENDIUM functions as a critical publication to shine a light on the often obscured post-industrial underground. It is also a celebration of, and an archival document charting, the activities of key artists and labels during the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Running to just short of 400 pages (392), it is available in soft-cover and special hard-back edition, which the hard-back including a bonus five track digital compilation of archival tracks (incl. Toroidh, Navicon Torture Technologies, Militia, Isomer and Chaos As Shelter).
Specifically SPECTRUM COMPENDIUM reproduces scanned pages of all five issues of the rare, out of print issues of Spectrum Magazine, plus content for the unpublished issue No 6, and a wealth of bonus archival material.
Featured interviews: Bad Sector / Black Lung / Brighter Death Now / Caul / Cold Spring / Crowd Control Activities / C17H19No3 / Death In June / Der Blutharsch / Desiderii Marginis / Deutsch Nepal / Dream Into Dust / Endvra / Folkstorm / Genocide Organ / Gruntsplatter / Hazard / House Of Low Culture / I-Burn / Ildfrost / Imminent Starvation / Inade / IRM / Iron Halo Device / Isomer / John Murphy / Kerovnian / Knifeladder / LAW / Malignant Records / Megaptera / Middle Pillar / Militia / MZ.412 / Navicon Torture Technologies / Nový Svĕt / Ordo Equilibrio / The Protagonist / Raison D’être / Sanctum / Schloss Tegal / Shining Vril / Shinjuku Thief / Skincage / Slaughter Productions / Spectre / StateArt / Stone Glass Steel / Stratvm Terror / Terra Sancta / Tertium Non Data / Toroidh / Tribe Of Circle / Warren Mead / Vox Barbara / Yen Pox
- foreword commentary by: Klaus Hilger/ Tesco Organisation, Justin Mitchell/ Cold Spring Records, Mikko Aspa/ Freak Animal Records, Henrik ‘Nordvargr’ Bjorkk/ MZ.412, Jason Mantis/ Malignant Records, Rene Lehmann / Loki Foundation. Stephen Petrus/ Murderous Vision/ Live Bait Recording Foundation, David Tonkin/ Isomer.
- detailed introduction covering the backstory of Spectrum Magazine.
- 600+ detailed reviews of dark ambient / industrial / experimental / heavy electronics / neo-folk / power electronics releases.
- 2001 archival interview with Spectrum Magazine’s creator Richard Stevenson.
- live performance photo archive, covering 40 artists at eleven underground industrial shows in Melbourne, London, Switzerland & Sweden between 2000-2002.
- personal correspondence archive, including selected letters, flyers and postcards.
“I can only recommend Spectrum — one of the best print mags in this genre”. – Tesco Organisation Germany
“Amazing work, really cool to see these zines again”. – Henrik Nordvargr Bjorkk, MZ.412
“These issues are legendary and historically very significant! Thanks for making them available again”. – Stephen Petrus, Murderous Vision / Live Bait Recording Foundation
Following below is a promotional flyer for the book, produced in October, 2017.
Spectrum Magazine was a ‘fanzine’ type music magazine which existed between 1998 and 2001. During this period 5 issues were self published. The original tag line of ‘ambient / industrial / experimental music culture magazine’ should give an idea of genre coverage, but upon reflection this should have been expanded to include power electronics and neo-folk as well.
PDF’s of all 5 issues of Spectrum Magazine can be downloaded via the ‘Issues’ tab, which includes details of publication date and print limitation.
So with regard to the question of “why this archive now?” – is it a case of a bit of nostalgia? Or want of recognition? Well, in truth it is probably a little a bit of both, but more than anything this is about documenting and spreading information about music which is too often ignored or forgotten. Spectrum Magazine started at the dawn of the internet age, and from the outset I chose to go with the more cumbersome and expensive task of publishing and distributing it in hard copy. Yet for my efforts, the magazine now thankfully exists in physical form as a document of its time, and has not suffered the fate of so may long deleted and forgotten websites. To my mind something in physical format has a much greater impact, both at the time of release, as well as years down the line – a time capsule if you will.
However seeing as though each of the issues were published in print runs of between 150 to 500 copies, to my mind this was far too few, but ultimately dictated by cost of publication and the prohibitive cost of international postage. So given all back issues are LONG sold out, and that Spectrum Magazine gets mentioned on internet forums from time to time, why not use the power of the internet to spread the magazine further and reach those who may have missed it first time round?
Whilst I am still proud of all issues of Spectrum, upon reflection I do note that there is a certain ‘charm’ to the enthusiasm contained within the earlier issues, that was at least a little more honed by the final issue. If you have read this far hopefully you will get something out of Spectrum Magazine – be it being introduced for the first time, or otherwise as a means to track down previous issues you may have missed. Noting my comments above I certainly encourage you to download and PRINT the PDF’s, rather than just reading it on screen!
I have also included additional articles, interviews and reviews written during 2002-2006 which should be of interest, which can be located through the main page.
Comments and feedback are welcome, either though this site or via e-mail spectrummagazine at hotmail dot com
Also please note that all prior listed postal addresses within Spectrum Magazine are defunct.
– Richard Stevenson
All interviews, articles and reviews by Richard Stevenson (unless otherwise noted).
No content can be used for any purpose without permission (please).
As of September, 2012 I will be continuing review writing through my new web blog ‘noise receptor’.
Check it out here: http://noisereceptor.wordpress.com
“I can only recommend this magazine – was one of the best print mags in this genre” – Klaus Hilger, Tesco Organisation Germany
“Amazing work, really cool to see these zines again” – Henrik ‘Nordvargr’ Bjorkk
“These issues are legendary and historically very significant! Thanks for making them available again” – Stephen Petrus, Murderous Vision / Live Bait Recording Foundation
“…such a great magazine … definitely tops in its category, along with the likes of Descent”. – Derek Rush, Dream Into Dust / Chthonic Streams