Malka Spigel


Minimal Compact Biography

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Malka first  gained  prominence  as  a  founder  member  and  bassist  of Minimal Compact the Israeli/Dutch group based in Amsterdam and Brussels in the '80s. They  released  several  recordings on  Brussels  based  label Crammed  Discs  and  toured  extensively  throughout  continental Europe during  that  time, gaining  a loyal  following. The group disbanded in 1989 with guitarists Rami Fortis and  Berry  Sakharov returning to Israel to pursue solo careers, Malka and singer Samy Birnbach  stayed on in Brussels with drummer Max Franken returning to his native  Amsterdam.

early minimal compact

minimal live

minimal compact
During the second half of the eighties Malka married Wire member Colin Newman,  the couple met while Newman was producing Minimal's "Raging Souls" recording, and worked with him on his two Crammed albums (Commercial Suicide & It Seems). Having cemented a working relationship to complement their marriage the couple set about setting up their own studio, initially for demos and pre-production (Newman's  "It  Seems" album  was  started off there). The birth of their first child  prompted a move somewhere a bit bigger thus the studio gained it's own space and  projects began to have a life in it. Born from the ashes of Minimal Compact the  first project to come forth was Oracle, a collaboration by the pair with Samy  Birnbach (DJ Morpheus). The release of it's  debut LP Tree by Swim in October 1994 saw the culmination of 5 years R+D during which the project developed a unique "genre-busting" sound and identity.

raging souls

commercial suicide

oracle - tree
It was always reckoned that Malka should do a "solo" album and some encouragement was forthcoming from companies in her native Israel. However it was quickly realised that the "local" market mentality would be too constraining so the album was realised in their own studio using an aesthetic the pair felt more comfortable with. In late '93 following  a re-location to London and the foundation of the Swim record label the album Rosh Ballata ( literally "concrete head")  was released to some critical acclaim both in the UK, continental Europe and in the USA. A domestic Israeli release was secured (through Sony affiliate NMC) but Swim scored their first triumph by outselling it (not bad for an album in Hebrew!!)

rosh ballata live

rosh ballata

rosh ballata live - with fortis, sakharov, newman
Malka's second solo release the minialbum Hide finally released in 1997 was not to come about for some years due to concentration on the Swim label and the electronic collaboration with Colin,  Immersion. The minialbum featured 3 new songs as well as a cover version of Minimal Compact's "Returning Wheel" and remixes by g-man , Immersion & Incarnate. 1997 also saw the release of the album Bastard a collaboration this time featuring Colin's name.


Not only has Malka been continuously producing music since 1981 but has also become increasingly involved in the visual aspect of her and other's work having taken photos featured on both her own, Immersion & Colin's albums as well as publicity photos for Berry Sakharov, Rami Fortis & Colin Newman. This interest led her to further study & a degree in Fine Art in 2002. With still photography she has made a big impact in the world of Lomography as well as having made video work with immersion &  video promos for Wire, Minimal Compact & Vapourspace amongst others.
Immersion also made an installation in the museum of Modern Art in Dublin in 1996
which became a source and inspiration for their  classic 1999 Low Impact album. Meanwhile 1998 saw the release of what may be not only the most important Malka Spigel record to date but also possibly the finest song based work the collaboration of the pair has produced in the shape of My Pet Fish . This was followed up by a tour in Europe from which the mail order only live album came.

my pet fish

low impact

In 2003 Minimal Compact played some live shows, mainly of historic material. The se events were celebrated by the release of a boxed set called Returning Wheel that Malka not only provide the images for but also wrote the sleeve notes of. In 2004, initially as a one off for  the swim 10th birthday event. Githead was formed with Colin & Robin Rimbaud. The band has released an EP Headgit & and album Profile as of June 2005.
returning wheel