Cindytalk is a long-running experimental music project that formed in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1982. Since its inception, the sole constant member of the group has been Gordon Sharp, a transgender vocalist/poet/musician who also goes by the name Cinder. The group's work has ranged from harsh, volatile post-punk and industrial to dark ambient and noisy drone, often laced with field recordings and constantly in a state of decay or fragmentation. Initially appearing on British label Midnight Music during the 1980s, Cindytalk has released the bulk of its 21st century output on Peter Rehberg's acclaimed Editions Mego.
While attending college during the mid-'70s, Sharp formed punk band the Freeze with fellow student David Clancy. Eventually working with drummer Graeme Radin, the group released two singles and opened for many punk and new wave bands. After John Peel heard their music and wanted them to record a session for his radio show, Sharp and Clancy moved to London and began using the name Cindytalk. Sharp appeared on the Cocteau Twins' first Peel session, and 4AD founder Ivo Watts-Russell invited him to appear on the debut EP and full-length by This Mortal Coil. John Byrne joined Cindytalk, and the group released the debut album Camouflage Heart in 1984. Volatile and uncompromising, the album nevertheless found an audience and even reached the U.K. indie albums chart. The album was followed by 1988's In This World, which was initially released as two separate LPs: a noisy post-punk album and a disc of eerie piano improvisations. The group moved in the latter direction for its next release, 1990's The Wind Is Strong, which was recorded for Ivan Unwin's film Eclipse (which was never released). The 1991 EP Secrets and Falling was a return to a guitar-driven sound, and the 1994 full-length Wappinschaw (on Sharp's own Touched Recordings) continued in this direction, but with slightly more of an adherence to song structures than previous recordings.
Touched reissued two of Cindytalk's older albums on CD after Midnight Music shut down during the early '90s. Sharp and bandmate Simon Carmichael started a hardcore techno side project called Bambule in 1994, and their debut release, Cunning Meets Bambule, appeared on Christoph Fringeli's influential breakcore label Praxis in 1996. That same year, Cindytalk toured America for the first time, and Sharp relocated to the States for a few years. After stints in Columbus, Ohio and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he moved to Long Beach, California and became highly active in the underground electronic music scene, co-founding the breakcore label/crew Darkmatter Soundsystem and hosting gigs at infamous downtown L.A. venue The Smell. He slowly began forming ideas for new Cindytalk recordings that were closer to noise and musique concrète than post-punk.
After moving to Hong Kong, the project resurfaced in 2003 with the Klanggalerie-released 7" single "Transgender Warrior." Following another relocation, this time to Kobe, Japan, the 10" single "Silver Shoals of Light" appeared on Bluesanct in 2008, and then Cindytalk signed with Editions Mego. The Crackle of My Soul appeared in 2009, followed by Up Here in the Clouds in 2010. Both albums (as well as the "Transgender Warrior" 7") were issued on vinyl as The Poetry of Decay. A split single with Main's Robert Hampson also appeared on Editions Mego in 2010. Hold Everything Dear, Cindytalk's third full-length for the label, followed in 2011, and the group collaborated with Philippe Petit on a single titled A Question of Re-Entry, issued by Lumberton Trading Company near the end of the year. The full-length A Life Is Everywhere was released by Editions Mego in 2013, while 2014's TouchedRAWKISSEDsour appeared on the American label Handmade Birds. Cindytalk returned to Editions Mego with 2016's The Labyrinth of the Straight Line. Gordon also started a project called In the Mouth of the Wolf with techno artist Ancient Methods; their debut EP appeared on Powell's Diagonal label in 2016. ~ Paul Simpson