Since beginning in 1977, French industrial innovators Die Form have built up a staggering body of work, ranging from goth club tracks to neo-classical explorations.
Lyrically and visually confrontational, the group's music, videos, performances, and art books have revolved around controversial themes such as eroticism, necrophilia, sadomasochism, and bestiality. The group was founded by audio-visual artist Phillipe Fichot, and model/vocalist Éliane P. joined during the late 1980s. Much of Die Form's material, including dozens of obscure cassettes, has appeared on Fichot's Bain Total label, but releases on labels like Metropolis and Trisol have expanded the group's audience.
Die Form's earliest cassette releases, as well as recordings under pseudonyms such as Eva-Johanna Reichstag and Krylon Hertz, were noisy experiments heavily inspired by musique concrète. Die Form's vinyl debut, 1982's Die Puppe, included highly inventive drum machine rhythms as well as disturbing lyrical content. 1983's Some Experiences with Shock took this sound in a more caustic direction, influencing electro-industrial bands such as Skinny Puppy. 1987's Poupée Mécanique (featuring vocalists Cécile Ke, Véronique Perrault, and Brigitte Mercier) was Die Form's most accessible release yet, but their brand of synth-pop was still far too dark and disturbing for the mainstream. Face to Face, Vol. 1, an experimental split LP with Asmus Tietchens, appeared in 1988. Also that year, German label Normal released retrospective Archives & Doküments. The label also issued Die Form's Photogrammes in 1989. Featuring vocalist Katia B., the album alternated between more melodic, ethereal songs and some of the group's most experimental work to date.
1991's Corpus Delicti (on Parade Amoureuse) pushed Die Form's perverse lyrics to their extremes, mirroring their controversial performances. The album was also a full immersion into dancefloor-friendly EBM and electro, and single "Savage Logic" became a European club hit. The track featured operatic vocals by Éliane P., who subsequently became an integral part of the group. 1992's Confessions, released by French label Danceteria, continued in the club-ready direction of the previous album, while Ad Infinitum, recorded around the same time and released by Hyperium Records in 1993, was a bit darker and more experimental. Following mini-album Tears of Eros, Suspiria De Profundis appeared in 1994, mixing trance-like club tracks with slower, more introspective material, and placing a greater emphasis on Éliane P.'s bombastic vocals. Following another mini-album (Rose Au Cœur Violet), L'âme Électrique was released in 1995. The album was intended as the second part of The Trilogy of Passions, which began with Suspiria De Profundis, but a third part never materialized. Following 1996's Vicious Circles, a compilation released by Cleopatra, Duality appeared on Trinity in 1997. The album was released in the United States by Metropolis, which subsequently reissued much of Die Form's back catalog. A more expansive compilation, the double-CD Histories, was released in 1998.
Trinity changed its name to Trisol in 2000, and Die Form began releasing material on that label as well as its Matrix Cube imprint. Extremum appeared in 2000, followed by 2001's Akt, a double-CD compilation of tracks by various Die Form side projects. Studio full-length InHuman appeared in 2004, followed by companion album ExHuman in 2006. 2008's Bach Project contained electro-industrial interpretations of Bach compositions. By the end of the year, Die Form left Trisol and signed with Out of Line, which issued triple-CD anthology Best of XXX, followed by 2009's Noir Magnétique, a return to a more club-oriented sound.
In 2010, Vinyl-On-Demand released Chronology: The Bain Total Years 1.977-1.985, an expansive box set of Die Form's early cassette material. Ambient & Film Music 1 + 2, a reissue of a 1991 release by side project Sombre Printemps along with a disc of newer material, appeared on Out of Line in 2011. The label issued Die Form's double-CD Rayon X in 2014. In 2015, Rotorelief released a double-LP of Die Form's '80s side project Fine Automatic, with both discs available separately as well. Fichot debuted his experimental solo project Musique Concrète with 2015 album Cinema Obscura. Die Form ÷ Hurt, a reissue of a 1985 cassette, appeared in 2016. Later that year, Dark Entries released Zoo, a compilation of tracks recorded around the same time as Die Puppe, which had been reissued by the label the previous year. In 2017, Die Form released a Fluxus-inspired split LP with German avant-garde artist Mama Bär. Returning to Trisol that year, the group released single "Psychic Poison," which preceded studio full-length Baroque Equinox. ~ Paul Simpson, Rovi