Ballet Mécanique was a 3-piece band formed in 1979 and, known under the BM name since 1980: It was fronted by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Martin Hall (1963). The band had Michael Karshøj on drums and Morten Versner on bass and violin. (The band took its name from a 1924 film project by composer George Antheil and filmmaker Fernand Léger). BM’s sound can be viewed as a choice reaction to the time’s established rock scene and was distinct from its contemporaries by the usage of unconventional instruments such as cello, piano, violin and balalaika and not least the use of tapes. The band was part of the national wave of post-punk music, influenced by the work of the late 70s’punk rock.
They started off with a 7" single called Avenues Of Oblivion in 1980.
Ballet Mécanique’s first full length album The Icecold Waters Of The Egocentric Calculation (1981) is considered a significant Danish rock cornerstone, and despite its then avant-garde experimentalist tendencies became a hit and received critical praise. Recorded in the course of three nights, its unique mix of poetry and rock makes it stand out, and the band’s live performances included dancers, films and slides which contributed to their unconventional nature.
The group’s second and final album called For was released in 1982. By now the band name was shortened to Ballet M. The recording of the album was faced by various difficulties relating to the group dynamic and they disbanded shortly after the September album release. The break-up was announced out of the blue at a concert in October – by Martin Hall reading aloud a declaration to the unsuspecting audience, not even the record company and management were warned of the split.
The personal difficulties within the band aside, the split was also a way of circumventing the band’s contract with the major record label CBS who had bought the independent record company they were initially signed to prior to the first single release.
The 25 year anniversary of The Icecold Waters of The Egocentric Calculation was marked in 2006 by a re-issue of the album, its first issue as a CD. The special edition is a double-CD release with bonus material making up the 2nd CD. The bonus material consists of live versions, audience reactions, a radio feature and the on-stage announcement of the group’s split at club ‘Saltlageret’. The most significant inclusion is the never-before-released single Intellectual Self-Mutilation recorded during the making of the second album and intended as a single release in 1982.
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