Test Dept were an industrial music band formed in New Cross, London, by Paul Jamrozy, Graham Cunnington, Angus Farquhar, Paul Hines and Toby Burdon. Formed in 1981, they utilised the waste debris from the local scrapyards to create a sonic arsenal from recycled scrap metal. Their exploration of tonality was fused with experimental electronics and early sampling technology, film and slide montaged visuals, as well as combining traditional instruments, notably bagpipes from Alistair Adams. They are hailed by many musicians as one of the most influential early industrial music acts.
Their approach was marked out by a strong and forceful commitment to radical politics; their multi-media performance at Paddington Station to mark the abolition of the GLC in 1986 is still regarded as one of the most awe inspiring events of the decade.
Their discography spans a wide variety of influences and styles, including a collaboration with the South Wales Striking Miners Choir in support of the Miners' Strike of 1984. They were particularly notable for their extremely complicated and powerful percussion, as well as their high-energy live shows. The band played a range of venues from Waterloo and Cannon Street station, to Expo 86, Stirling Castle and the defunct St Rollox Railway Works in Glasgow.
In later years the band's music developed becaming less 'industrial' and took on many of the properties of techno and other dance music styles. The band's political stance was energised by the passing of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.
The band continued until 1997, its former members have continued to work in the fields of art and culture. Angus Farquhar returned to Scotland and re-established the ancient Celtic Beltane Fire Festival, held yearly on the night before/morning of the first of May on Edinburgh's Calton Hill. he also formed NVA, an innovative theatre company specialising in large-scale site-specific events. Cunnington, who suffers from chronic rheumatoid arthritis, produced a one-man show in 1996 called Pain, recounting his experiences as a sufferer from this condition.
Jamrozy practices 'electro-magnetic' art under various guises such as satellitic, producing installation and experimental sonic electronic performance.
Ecstasy Under Duress - 1982
Shoulder to Shoulder (with South Wales Striking Miners' Choir) - 1984
Beating The Retreat (Some Bizzare Records)- 1984
Atonal & Hamburg, Live - 1985
The Unacceptable Face Of Freedom (Some Bizzare Records) - 1986
A Good Night Out - 1987
Terra Firma - 1988
Materia Prima - 1989
Gododdin - 1989
Pax Britannica - 1990
Proven In Action (Live 1990) - 1991
Totality - 1995
Legacy [1990-1993] the singles plus more - 1995
Tactics for Evolution - 1997