Author Archives: Peter Webb

Review in Times Higher Education Magazine

Times Educational Supplement logoUwe Shütte from Aston university has written this piece about the book in the Times Higher Education magazine: THES TD Uwe Shutte review

Uwe Schütte, reader in German at Aston University, is reading Test Dept’s Total State Machine (PC-Press, 2015). “Test Dept were one of the most radical British bands. Their extreme industrial sound fused sonic experiments with political activism, notably during the miners’ strike of 1984-85. In bringing together art, theatre, music and politics, they produced monumental events that assaulted all the senses. This richly illustrated book details a vigorous body of work that has lost none of its relevance.”

Test Dept Tour the Film DS30 and promote ‘Total State Machine’ book

Test Dept are touring the film DS30 in conjunction with the Av Festival and PC-Press. Here is a description of the film and tour:

Marking 30 years since the 1984–85 miners’ strike, DS30 is a political collage of sound and image. Commissioned by AV Festival in 2014, the film was originally presented within the monumental lines of Dunston Staiths, a structure built on the River Tyne in 1893 to ship coal from the Durham coalfields to the world. During 2015, AV Festival is touring the film to selected cinemas in the North of England and Scotland.

 Featuring footage of mining communities together with material from Test Dept’s own archive related to the strike, DS30 reflects on the group’s nationwide Fuel to Fight Tour in support of the miners. The DS30 Tour also celebrates the new publication Total State Machine, a unique historical document and visual representation of Test Dept.

 ‘It’s one of the most emotionally draining and inspiring pieces of political art or music I’ve ever witnessed’ (The Quietus)

For full details of dates and timings see TD DS30 Tour image

Rough Trade East Book and Shoulder to Shoulder Launch – July 16th 7.00 – 9pm featuring Scanner Live

Test-Dept_RT-East_1607_web copy

Rough Trade East present Test Dept/PC-Press – ‘Total State Machine’ and ‘Shoulder to Shoulder’ launch on Thursday the 16th July from 7 to 9pm and features a live reworking of Test Dept classic material by Scanner.

Test Dept and PC-Press announce the latest in a series of events to launch the book ‘Total State Machine’; a career long presentation and representation of the work of Test Dept featuring reflection and analysis by Paul Jamrozy, Graham Cunnington, Angus Farquhar, Stephen Mallinder (Cabaret Voltaire), Robin Rimbaud (Scanner), Marek Kohn, Malcolm Pointer, Ivan Novak (Laibach), Alan Sutcliffe (Kent Miners) and many more with an introduction by Alexei Monroe and Peter Webb.

ALSO  to let you all know that the Red Vinyl edition of the ‘Shoulder to Shoulder’ album will now not be a part of this event. The release is being held up by a legal issue that will soon be resolved. Onwards and Upwards PC-Press.

7.00pm Q&A with Paul Jamrozy, Gray Cunnington, Robin Rimbaud, Peter Webb and Alexei Monroe.

7.40pm Live performance – Scanner’s unique Live re-working of Test Dept classics.

8.25pm book and record signing/ meet and greet.

9.00pm store closes.

Aston University post-symposium party at Vivid – Vivid Projects 16 Minerva Works 158 Fazeley Street Birmingham B5 5RS







£5 ENTRY 7:00PM – 11:00PM

Test Dept; the authentic industrialists, sonic material handlers, utilisers and recyclers of society’s debris have re-emerged to engage with the current cultural and political climate, exploring new ways of expression in a strategic programme of actions and releases.

The symposium on May 28th at Aston University where academics, contributors to the book and other interested parties discuss the influence and impact of the group will be followed by an after party at Vivid. This is to celebrate Test Dept’s return to the public sphere.

The return is realised in the form of the book – Total State Machine – published by PC-Press; which is an account of the history, work and actions of the group up until their recent DS30 show at Dunstan Staithes. This was commissioned by AV Festival to remember the miners’ strike of 1984/85. We will also celebrate the release of the 12” vinyl single; Tested Product for Record Store Day and the re-release of Shoulder To Shoulder; their album with the striking South Wales miners choir from 1984 which will be rereleased on 1st May on red vinyl.

For the evening their will be DJ sets from Test Dept themselves, Alexei Monroe of SZ Berlin and editor at PC-Press and a mystery guest to be revealed nearer to the date.Test Dept will line the walls with art manifestos and statements from their historical archives and show footage of live performances and actions from some of their historic performances.

There will be a stall selling the book, Cd’s and vinyl and some Test Dept wearables.
£5 ENTRY 7:00PM – 11:00PM

Test Dept and Total State Machine Symposium and After-party at Aston University Thursday 28th May



Test Dept Book Launch Aston jpeg copy 2

Here is the Press Release from Aston University for the event. The event is free but you need to register by contacting Dr Uwe Schütte via

The influential radical music group The Test Dept will launch a career retrospective anthology at Aston University next month.

The book, Total State Machine, will reflect on the impact and importance of the band that formed in 1981 and made stridently political and socially conscious music until they disbanded in 1997.

It will feature a series of reflections and evaluations by experts and aficionados of Test Dept, including Dr Stephen Mallinder, lead singer of seminal art-pop group, Cabaret Voltaire. As well as manifestos, excerpts from tour diaries and many previously unknown stories and documents, the book also contains hundreds of photos and pieces of artwork from the band’s archives.

Test Dept were well known for their involvement in various political causes, particularly their support for the miner’s strike of 1984 during which they collaborated and went on tour with the South Wales Striking Miners Choir. The band are also seen as a pioneering industrial music act, using ‘found’ materials such as factory equipment and everyday objects as unconventional instruments to produce a uniquely jagged, metallic sound.

Many of the contributors to Total State Machine will speak at the launch event on 28 May, which will be opened by Aston academic and resident pop music expert, Dr Uwe Schütte. The event will be capped by a Q&A session with Test Dept founders Paul Jamrozy and Graham Cunnington.

Dr Schütte, who convened the first ever academic conference on Kraftwerk earlier this year, said: “It is a real honour to host the launch of Total State Machine. Growing up in Germany, I became aware of the Test Dept for their reputation as political radicals on the left wing of industrial music. I am really looking forward to hearing more about them and reacquainting myself with their work beyond music again.”

Test Dept’s impact on a variety of musical genres is well noted. Throughout the course of their career, they experimented with and influenced house music, break beat, industrial music, synth punk and electronic body music.

Dr Peter Webb, co-founder of PCP Press who will publish Total State Machine, said: “Test Dept were a massive formative influence on me. I was attracted to them by their independent spirit and the way they used sound and force to make deeply emotive music. I have always felt that their influence and importance was unwritten in the archive of popular culture. This book redresses that balance and presents a document that examines their work as well as representing it.”

For more information and to attend the launch of Total State Machine at Aston University on 28 May from 1pm, contact Dr Uwe Schütte via

Test Dept Book Launch and Film Event – Ritzy Cinema 23rd April

Brixton Ritzy Test Dept book launchThere will be the first in a series of events launching the book ‘Total State Machine’ at the Ritzy Cinema, Brixton, London on the 23rd April from 6.30pm. A screening of the film DS30 about the 2014 commissioned work reflecting on Test Dept’s ‘Fuel to Fight’ tour with the South Wales striking Miners choir in 1984/85 will begin at 6.30pm. The screening will be accompanied by some archive film of Test Dept throughout their career. A Q and A will follow with three key members of the group: Graham Cunnington, Angus Farquhar and Paul Jamrozy accompanied by Robin Rimbaud aka Scanner who contributed to the book. Following this there will be a book signing with the group and PC-Press and then an after party featuring a Shelley Parker DJ set and a Scanner live reworking of Test Dept material – this will be a unique new performance. The book will be available for the first time at the event and then will get a public release on the PC-Press website. For tickets follow the link below:

DS30 Film and Book Launch 23rd April Ritzy Cinema Brixton


PC-Press release Test Dept Record Store Day 12″ single – Vinyl only.

Test Dept - Tested ProductTest Dept; the authentic industrialists, sonic material handlers, utilisers and recyclers of society’s debris have re-emerged to engage with the current cultural and political climate, exploring new ways of expression in a strategic programme of actions and releases.

`Tested Product’ is the first in a series of re-releases in new and adapted artworks through recently formed `DIY’ Independent company PC-Press. This 12” for Record Store Day combines tracks from their first, now deleted, `Compulsion’ single (1983) and mixes’ from their second single ‘The Faces of Freedom’ (1986). The tracks `Compulsion’ and `Pulsations’ were recorded in Metropolitan Wharf, Wapping by Paul Hardiman (noted for his work with Lloyd Cole and The The) on a mobile studio. That Wharf, now a block of luxury flats, is a symbol of Test Dept’s disgust for the transformation of parts of London into a rich elite’s playground since first recording during the recession presided over by Thatcher’s government of the early 1980s. `Compulsion’ produced by Flood and Trigger and `Pulsations’ produced by Richard Kirk and Stephen Mallinder of Cabaret Voltaire are fine examples of the mash-up of Industrial sounds and emerging dance music. European synths and Detroit house rhythms mixed with some of the heaviest industrial metal sounds ever recorded make these tracks timeless and key examples of the groundbreaking music that Test Dept unleashed.

On Face Of Freedom 2 and 3 the voice of Leon Brittan makes an appearance, sampled to show the evasion, attempted manipulation and hypocrisy of politicians in the media spotlight. The music highlights the post-punk/funk sensibility of the group and the sound of a classical industrial aural collage that would later become the hallmark of many experimental and mainstream groups. Brittan was also pictured on the cover, and now on the label of this release, with worms coming out of his mouth…. The `can of worms’ has recently been opened again and makes the contemporary stories around Brittan of continued interest with Test Dept displaying foresight and a keen sense of provocation in their work, highlighting disingenuous behavior within the political establishment.

This is the first in a series of audio releases partnered by a book `Total State Machine’ to be published in May 2015 by PC-Press –


Test Dept return with an AV performance at Dunston Staiths 27th to 29th March

Test Dept return for an AV performance marking the 30th anniversary of the Miners Strike.

Test Dept return for an AV performance marking the 30th anniversary of the Miners Strike.

Test Dept bring the drama and noise of the monumental Dunston Staiths back to life in a vital sonic, cinematic and lighting intervention. Viewed from boats on the River Tyne over three nights, the event marks the 30th anniversary of the Miners’ Strike.

Seminal industrial music group Test Dept returns with their debut event since they disbanded in 1997. This large-scale outdoor event takes place at the dramatic Dunston Staiths, reputed to be Europe’s largest wooden structure, which was built on the River Tyne in 1893 to ship coal from the local Durham coalfields to the world.

Correction to previous advertised dates. The event takes place over the three nights of Thu 27 March – Sat 29 March 2014. Three slots are available each evening at 6.45pm, 8.15pm and 9.45pm.

For more information visit the programme page here

“Still the Enemy within Film” and miners strike anniversary conference

Saturday 8th March, 30th Anniversary of the Miners Strike Conference

Saturday 8th March, 30th Anniversary of the Miners Strike Conference

Test Dept and Pete Webb of PC-Press will be talking about the New Test Dept book, their work with the South Wales Miners Choir, support for the strike and music and politicalstruggle at the 20th Anniversary of the Miners Strike event at Rich Mix Cinema, London on Saturday 8th March.

RIchMix is at CINEMA AND ARTS CENTRE, 35 – 47 BETHNAL GREEN ROAD, SHOREDITCH / BETHNAL GREEN. Nearest tube – Shoreditch High Street.

This is event is part of the build up to the release of the film about the strike called “Still the Enemy Within” made by production company Bad Bonobo in collaboration with Journalist Mike Simons, see here – PC-Press is proud to support the film and work with the Bad Bonobo team on the Conference.