Spring may have already arrived as far as the calendar is concerned, but Allchival Records’ new Operating Theatre compilation, Spring Is Coming With A Strawberry In The Mouth / Rapid Eye Movements, nonetheless suits the season’s shift toward verdant growth. Led by producer, composer, and musical maverick Roger Doyle, Operating Theatre was an Irish synth-pop band and avant-garde theatre troupe. By the middle of the ’80s, Operating Theatre had secured a spot on U2’s recently launched Mother Records. Though the band’s “Queen of No Heart” b/w “Spring Is Coming With a Strawberry In The Mouth” single failed to gain commercial traction—a distinct lack of promotion on the nascent record label’s part stymied its release—both songs illustrate Operating Theatre’s sleek and strident, Fairlight-sampler driven power.
This new collection includes both singles, alongside other other recordings, and “Rapid Eye Movements,” a series of experimental tape/musique concrète recordings that Doyle created on his own in the late ’70s (which were nonetheless originally released under the Operating Theatre banner in 1979). Of particular note is a brand new remix by Irish artist Morgan Buckley, which reimagines “Spring Is Coming” as a MIDI-epic, at once playful, evocative, and full of potential, just like the season itself. | j woodbury