DISC 1: 1984 – 1987
01 Moev – Alibis
02 Skinny Puppy – Smothered Hope
03 Severed Heads – Dead Eyes Opened
04 Chris & Cosey – October Love Song
05 Single Gun Theory – Open The Skies
06 The Water Walk – Turn Your Face Away
07 Pretty Green – This House Is Leaking
08 SPK – Off The Deep End
09 The Tear Garden – Ophelia
DISC 2: 1988 – 1990
01 Manufacture – Armed Forces
02 After All – Bullets
03 Moev – Yeah, Whatever
04 Sarah McLachlan – Vox
05 Skinny Puppy – Testure
06 Bill Pritchard – Tommy & Co
07 MC 900 Ft Jesus – I’m Going Straight To Heaven
08 Bel Canto – Shoulder To The Wheel
09 Lava Hay – Won’t Matter
10 Consolidated – Disfunctional Relationship
DISC 3: 1991 – 1993
01 Severed Heads – Greater Reward
02 Falling Joys – Lock It
03 Sarah McLachlan – The Path Of Thorns
04 Single Gun Theory – From A Million Miles
05 MC 900 Ft Jesus – The City Sleeps
06 Hilt – Superhoney
07 Mystery Machine – Ride
08 Rose Chronicles – Awaiting Eternity
09 Skinny Puppy – Inquisition
10 Consolidated – You Suck
DISC 4: 1994 – 1995
01 Papa Brittle – Status Quo
02 P.O.W.E.R. – Racemixer
03 Sarah McLachlan – Hold On
04 Ginger – Far Out
05 Delerium – Flowers Become Screens
06 Brainbox – Figure Five
07 The Grassy Knoll – Culture Of Complaint
08 Single Gun Theory – Motherland
09 Mystery Machine – Pound For Pound
10 Taste Of Joy – Maybe In Time
11 Suzanne Little – Tragic Flaw
DISC 5: 1995
01 Sarah McLachlan – Full Of Grace
02 Cam – Lunch
03 Wild Strawberries – I Don’t Want To Think About It
04 Tara MacLean – Silence (Demo)
05 Autour De Lucie – Le Tournesol
06 Rose Chronicles – Heaven Tide (Demo)
07 Papa Brittle – Stress Killer On The Loose
08 Skinny Puppy – Grave Wisdom
INFO > Vancouver-based Nettwerk Records was founded in 1984 by Terry McBride, Mark Jowett, Ric Arboit, and Dan Fraser. McBride managed Jowett’s band, Moev, which needed a label to distribute its music; Nettwerk proved successful in that capacity, attracted other artists, and quickly built an impressive roster of talent. Most notable among Nettwerk’s early signings is Sarah McLachlan, whose career took off almost immediately.
Much like 4AD in the UK, Nettwerk was defined early on by a distinct sound (from which it would later depart); employed a highly creative in-house designer, Steven R. Gilmore; established offices internationally; and continues to be an influential presence within the music industry. Nettwerk also diversified its services to include artist management and publishing.
Released in a limited edition of 10,000 units in 1995, “Decadence” celebrates Nettwerk’s first ten years. An ambitious audio-visual project, “Decadence” is intriguing but flawed. Steven Gilmore’s beautiful packaging—comprised of die cut card stock, onionskin paper, and cardboard CD sleeves presented on over-sized spiral binding—is a unique work of art, but the ‘box set without a box’ concept was likely deemed too unconventional for many collectors at the time.
Each of the five discs is a mixed mode CD, with the first track containing text, photos, and videos. While this use of technology was intended to be cutting edge, personal computers weren’t as commonplace in 1995, so that multimedia content was not accessible by all. Also, playing the first track in a standard CD player will produce screeching noise and potentially damage speakers.
Because the multimedia content occupies significant space on each disc, there are relatively few audio selections—only 48 in total across five CDs. While the set includes a variety of album tracks, single versions, remixes, and demos, there’s nothing rare or previously unreleased.
It’s interesting to note how the collection’s music content changes from beginning to end—the heavily electronic sound so prominent during the label’s early years all but vanishes by the fifth disc, which effectively foreshadows Lillith Fair, the all-female artist concert festival tour organized by Sarah McLachlan and Nettwerk.
All of the aforementioned shortcomings resulted in poor product sales. Originally retailing for $65.00, new copies of “Decadence” can still be found for less than $20. Were it released a few years later, the collection would have likely contained three or four audio CDs and a DVD, making it a far more attractive item.
NOTE > As track 1 on each of the actual discs is multimedia, all files have been renumbered for this post.