Materia Prima is a recording compiled from soundtracks used in various European performances of 1986, 1988, and 1989. Specifically, this music consists of live performances from the Materia Prima tour across Europe (1988-1989) and The Unacceptable Face of Freedom, performed in London in 1986. This is among the most sparse and sublime of any Test Dept. material available, yet it retains its power to convince and enthrall. The uncluttered soundscapes are superb. This Invisible release is the domestic U.S. reissue of the live performances. The unique, eerie sounds on these recordings are due to minimalist tribal instrumentation and the group's signature hand-built percussion. Pipe, didgeridoo, and ethnic drums appear throughout. Lacking the frenzy of other works, this album relies on subtle and understated percussion.
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AllMusic Review by Tom Schulte