When I Go, by Minimal Compact

Not many musical acts from Israel claimed international success in the 80s. Well, Ofra Haza did, but I am not writing about her. American audiences are likely foreign to this band, but Minimal Compact was very popular in the indie scene in Europe and are still loved by Israeli audiences, were they reunite and perform every few years. If you are into the dark romantic rock music that was popular in the UK in the 80s, heavily chorused guitars and dramatic vocals all delivered in melodic tunes, then you will enjoy Minimal Compact.

The members of Minimal Compact had to make the move away from Israel due to the lack of acceptance of that type of music in the early 80s, but as the decade progressed you started to see youth dressed in black, the songs played on a few radio programs and a number of clubs that featured the music opened in Tel Aviv. It developed to a local scene of its own, always at the fringe of popular music.

Minimal Compact’s third album, Raging Souls was released in 1985 and is their most successful.  In my opinion also their best. Produced by Colin Newman from the band Wire, it is a perfect article from that time and place, were bands such as Cocteau Twins, Bauhaus and Siouxsie and the Banshees played on the airwaves and in dark clubs all over Europe. The band saw a respectable success touring in Europe and played a session at the legendary John Peel radio program.

When I Go is unique in Minimal Compact’s catalog, being an orchestrated ballad with lyrics and vocals by bass player Malka Spigel. Two years after the album’s release the song was included in the soundtrack for Wings of Desire by director Wim Wenders, one of the movies that to me define the 80s. The piano and cello accompaniment along with Spigel’s vocals are beautiful together. The string and wind orchestration is very tasteful, adding a dramatic texture to the song without taking over it.

When I go

It’s time for you to see

That I was swallowing my pride

And now I know

It’s not enough for me

To be on somebody’s side


Can you hear it?

Can you see it?

Can you look me in the eyes?

It doesn’t really matter anymore…


Not long ago

You ran away from me

But now I have my way inside

‘Cause now I know

It’s not alright for me

To close my eyes and live a lie


Can you hear it?

Can you see it?

Can you look me in the eyes?

It doesn’t really matter anymore…

Categories: Song

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