More ‘Where are they now?’: World Domination Enterprises

If everything is available whenever you want it in this digital age, where the hell do you go for the World Domination Enterprises album? On demand? I don’t think so.

I can imagine this lot being somewhere at the back of the queue for the 80s revival, though they deserve the glory far more than most. Formed out of the Ladbroke Grove scene that had earlier nurtured Hawkwind and the Clash (and you really should read this excellent essay on the squat republic of Frestonia) WDE were so of their time – the squatting, arty, hippyish, punky dread, pre-rave warehouse party subculture that people like William Gibson were dreaming about – that you’d expect that it would sound terribly dated. But music this strange and potent doesn’t really have any markers to tie it down and it still sounds absolutely fresh to me. I would like to pretend I’d been at those Mutoid Waste Company parties they played at, though I did see them support Husker Du in 1987; the first band on were the Shamen, in their pre-rave incarnation, but probably moving in the same free party circuits as WDE. ‘Asbestos Lead Asbestos’ was also the first track on one of the best mixtapes I’ve ever been given. Once heard, never forgotten. Even finer now I know it was aimed at Shirley Porter, the Tory leader of Westminster Council whose policy dumped homeless families into flats containing dangerous forms of asbestos… as well as so much more.

I can only say that you are in for a treat… dub basslines, tight drumming, white noise guitar, and passionate but funny sloganeering. Those parties must have been something else.

Asbestos Lead Asbestos‘ – World Domination Enterprises

I Can’t Live Without My Radio‘ – World Domination Enterprises

That Woman‘ – World Domination Enterprises

You can’t buy this, as far as I know, because the internet is not the magic teat you think it is. No MySpace either. There’s vinyl and stuff, plus some YouTube footage – oh go on then:



About jkneale

BothBarsOn's London correspondent.

Posted on September 11, 2008, in Album reviews, General Stuff, where are they now pile and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. Brillant stuff. As you know I’ve been looking forward to this post. Finally have some WDE in my collection. Saw them at Reading Festival (let’s not try to work out which late 80s/90s one it was) and I think they were on Snub TV weren’t they?

    Plus the phrase ‘Asbestos Lead Asbestos’ appears in Carter USM’s ‘Rubbish’ – were they making a reference to WDE?

    *scratches chin pointlessly*

    Nice one. And they do sound fresh.

  2. I suspect Carter were citing them, yes… i bet they were also at those parties. {sighs} And Snub TV did feature WDE, I think that’s on YouTube.

  3. This is relevant to my interests. ‘Asbestos Lead Asbestos’ was covered my Meat Beat Manifesto on ‘Subliminal Sandwich’, which is appropriate. WDE were listed as an influence on the first Jesus Jones album sleeve notes (yes yes, I know) and I guess it was them that PWEI sampled on ‘Radio PWEI’ (“I can’t live without my radio!”)
    Next up, Mark Stewart and the Maffia!
    I’m pretty sure there is a webpage with magic teats.

  4. Hello San Diego! I’m not sure I can offer you any Mark Stewart… maybe some other On-U? I think WDE were one of those ‘influence’ bands… like Renegade Soundwave. I think I might write an opera about post-scarcity digital fantasies and call it The Magic Teat.

  5. I’ve heard of The Long Tail, a concept assisted by online retailing. The Magic Teat sounds like a valid counterpart…

    I’ve got a couple of Mark Stewart albums, ‘Metatron’ and ‘As The Veneer Of Democracy Starts To Fade’, both pretty nifty. Plus the ‘I Feel Love’-sampling ‘Fatal Attraction’ on some Mute comp.

  6. BLAST from the past. Good to see you on Sunday JimBob, and catch up with you and Siobhan.

    I’ve got the WDE album on CD somwhere – it was one of the first of those new fangled compact discs that I ever bought, sometime around March ’89 so that possibly uncomfortably dates Bon’s Reading festival gig. I’ll try and find it, but I still haven’t organised my CD’s since we moved house. A year ago. If I find it I’ll put it on RS and let you know the link.

    WDE were way ahead of their time; others followed timidly in their wake, such as Renegade Soundwave; who now sound pretty dated. I can still cope with PWEI and This Is The Day… is still listenable, and about to become relevant again when Watchmen gets it’s cinematic debut next year. I remember getting a great Mark Stewart and The Mafia track on a NME 7″ single (at least I think it was them) doing ‘The Motorcade Sped On’.

    I’m off to google ‘Magic Teat’.

  7. Hmmm… so there goes my theory that it wasn’t ever on CD – more like no one bought it 😦
    Putting my Pedant Hat on I think the ‘Motorcade’ was Steinski. Great free single though.

  8. Ah yes. However *coughs* for the sake of utter accuracy it’s worth pointing out that it was in yer actual fact Steinski And The Mass Media.

    It’s maybe, possibly, not beyond unfeasible, that Mr Stewart was another featured artiste on this aforementioned four track NME EP, and thus a possible explanation for the confused reminiscences of an old man. Anyway, I’ve just found ‘The Motorcade Sped On’ using SkreemR on Songbird, and it’s worth a spin:

  9. Thanks for Asbestos Lead Asbesto. Been looking for this for some time. Great blog.

  10. Thanks Ted (if I may) – we’re big fans of yours too!

  11. Indeed we are. Big thanks for the Carl Craig posts.

  12. Stumbled here… many thanks for a lost song. Saw them at 100 Club on Oxford Street… Asbestos such a great single… Steinski song litigated upon by the announcer himself i believe… also on that flexidisk a great version of “Who do you love” by Jesus and Mary Chain… ps don’t forget Sid Presley Experience from same era.

  13. Ooh, the SPE! I had completely forgotten about them. Not sure I can help you there, though…

  14. Just to say that I think KifKif is working on a re-release of Lets Play Domination.
    Check out
    Never forget the 012!

  15. Great news – thanks kashi! says :
    ‘Album re-release – further delay..
    “Lets Play domination” re-release
    Legal hassles now sorted.
    Technical hassles in process of being sorted.
    New projected release date: 21st March 2009.
    Hang in there!’

    Worth waiting for I think…

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