Ivan Antunovic from Zagreb is an extremely interesting individual who has his finger in a few notable pies. Not only does he have his 0.5 Half Releases label which “specialises in bringing out pop/noise records of sorts” by the likes of Alone In Heaven, Videododir, Hemendex, Mekanismo Va Morir, Popsimonova & Zarkoff, Split Personalities and Ilegalne emocije, but he also produces his exquisite fanzine “Small Doses” periodically, a copy of the latest issue (No.V) having recently landed on my doormat. “V” stands here, though, not just for this fifth outing but also “variety” which is certainly the name of the game with “Small Doses” and always the true marker, in my view, of a quality publication, see my review a while back of Kevin McCaighy’s “Salt” zine, and it also reminds me to some extent of Dave Haslam’s supreme “Debris” magazine which I used to devour and cherish as a teenager living in 1980s Manchester, reading about Coil, Raymond Carver, Mass Observation, Margaret Attwood, Laibach and The Pastels in the same pages, all blended together naturally to form a unified aesthetic.
Design is a central concern of Ivan’s and the two issues of “Small Doses” which I possess are triumphs in this respect, the first I received being a partial homage to the neo-Constructivist work of Neville Brody, as exemplified in the graphic work he did for Cabaret Voltaire, and this most recent one being stylishly printed onto a mixture of the kind of brown paper you might use to wrap parcels and the more conventional white you’d expect to find in a publication such as this, the articles within then being lovingly arranged across full A5 pages with others sliced sharply and precisely on the diagonal interspersed, such that reading through it, irrespective of the content, is a joy in itself.
Next up in “Fashion Tricks and Politics” we find another sympathetic pairing in the form of two “German Bite” old friends, Soft Riot and Nõi Kabát, who also provide the three tracks which appear on the CD which comes accompanying “Small Does No.V”, an alternative mix of “Cinema Eyes” by the former and two versions of “Seeds of Time” by the latter, one reconfigured, in fact, by the one man band that is Soft Riot, Jack Duckworth. It’s worth buying for these alone, I might say. Across several pages of commentary about these electro artistes extraordinaire, mixed with snippets of interview, the focus is very much on these particular pieces rather than their respective oeuvres in general.
Then, before we reach a few closing reviews nestled in the back pages, the final interview is with Heinrich Diesl, an Austrian music editor and writer who, it transpires, has recently had a tempting book titled “Im Puls der Nacht: Sub- und Popularkültur in Wien 1955-1976” published. Across ten pages, unsurprisingly, the focus is largely on the cultural history of the Austrian capital city, as well as topics such as interesting interviews he’s conducted during his career, his dj-ing aesthetic and, bliss, oh, bliss, electronic music again.