Nash the Slash

  • Nash the Slash
  • Bedside Companion EP (Can. Cut-Throat) 1978 
  • Dreams and Nightmares (Can. Cut-Throat) 1979 
  • Children of the Night (UK DinDisc) 1980 
  • Decomposing EP (Can. Cut-Throat) 1981 
  • And You Thought You Were Normal (Can. Cut-Throat) 1982 
  • American Bandages (Can. Quality) 1984 
  • Highway 61 (Can. Cut-Throat) 1991 
  • Blind Windows (Can. Cut-Throat) 1997 

Visually striking in formal dress — his head and hands wrapped in gauze bandages — Nash the Slash has had a mixed career, alternating between intriguing electronic music and weak pop songs. Following his 1978 departure from the Canadian progressive trio FM, Nash self-released an EP and LP which paralleled concurrent developments in Germanic electronic music. At times, the albums evoke a more aggressive Tangerine Dream, or sound remarkably close to the Neü/Cluster hybrid Harmonia; however, his electrification and processing of the violin and mandolin gives the records a distinctive identity. (The Blind Windows CD compiles Bedside Companion and Dreams and Nightmares.)

After signing to England’s DinDisc, Nash released Children of the Night, which was produced by Steve Hillage. Although the album led to greater commercial success, the intensity of prior work is diluted by the addition of vocals and a decision to include covers (of “Dead Man’s Curve,” “19th Nervous Breakdown” and “Smoke on the Water”). Even worse, response to the latter ultimately painted him as a novelty act.

The instrumental Decomposing EP is a welcome return to Nash’s original ideas. With an audibly different recording technique, it sounds as if the instruments were recorded at extremely loud levels. This music is aggressive at any playback volume.

And You Thought You Were Normal is split between pop songs on the A-side and instrumental cuts on the back — a clear demonstration of how misguided Nash is in seeking commercial success rather than pursuing his strengths in experimental music.

American Bandages restates the commercial intentions of Children of the Night, with pop songs and even more dopey covers (“Who Do You Love,” “Hey Joe” and “Psychotic Reaction”). In 1991, in an ideal marriage of talents, Nash composed the score for Bruce McDonald’s wigged-out road movie, Highway 61.

[Doug Watson]