UPDATE: Marsha Mann has emailed me with a great bio of the band and her work, and also some corrections:
A musician friend of mine came across your site recently and told me about it...I'm Marsha Mann, lead singer & producer of the L.A. based band, CIPHER (1977-1983). While I appreciate you featuring our record on your site (and don't mind others downloading it as well) the info about myself & the band is a bit off.
When my writing partner (Jose Garcia) and I started working together in 1976, we had no knowledge of Souxie & The Banshees. As a singer/performer I was much more influenced by 60's icons Grace Slick & Jim Morrison, and later, David Bowie & Patti Smith. Our music also had elements of avant garde jazz and various ethnic musics from around the world...my lyrics reflected years of self study in metaphysics, shamanism, and the new sciences.
In 1981, I was the first female rocker to produce myself (and the band) in the studio, on my own label (Right-Brain Records). Working with a small network of independent distributors, I was able to get it into stores throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe, before the internet existed! We were being played on college radio stations around the country, were featured 5 times on the famed cable TV show 'New Wave Theater', and headlined shows at The Whisky A-Go-Go and Club Lingerie on the Sunset Strip. The L.A. Weekly considered us 'one of the most influential bands of the L.A. Music Underground', and Bam Magazine did a full-page feature article on us. We also played The Savoy Club in S.F. and appeared on the New Wave compilation album, 'Savoy Sound Wave Goodbye' w/ Tuxedo Moon and The Sleepers.
CIPHER was in the process of recording a second record in 1983 when the band broke up. In 1984, I married Radames Pera (the actor who played Grasshopper on the TV series 'Kung Fu') and a year or so later we joined forces with the performance-art rock trio 'Freshly Wrapped Candies' (Chris Haaga, Roz & Wade Hall), performing live interactive video on multiple monitors in changing configurations (very groundbreaking stuff). FWC was briefly signed to Ralph Records in S.F. (The Residents Record/Video Label) who released a 60-minute music video called 'The Sheep of Things To Come'. The female voice on the FWC records are Roz, not me.
My ex-music partner and I are still good friends and plan to release a CIPHER retrospective in the next year or so, which will include the songs we recorded in 1983 that were never released.
I hope this has been of some interest to you, and again, we do appreciate the attention you have given our EP.
Feel free to contact me if you have any other questions.
Best Regards,Marsha Mann
... and here's my original post: Los Angeles had a great run of bands in the early 1980s before hair metal reared its ugly Aqua Net-ed head. Cipher was one of the many, many Los Angeles darkwave/post punk/deathrock bands from that genre's heyday. The singer's voice combined with the tense, dense and often ominous post punk made for some unique music that is not unlike the Global Infantilists LP that I shared a couple months ago. I'm pretty sure this was the band's only release. The singer Marsha Mann, later found slighly more notoriety in the undergound LA performance/art band Freshly Wrapped Candies, whose self-released first two LPs were shared on the Mutant Sounds blog a while ago. According to the credits, Mann was the performance conceptualist for Cipher, so I'm guessing that their live performances were artistic and expressive.
Cipher: Selftitled EP
1981, Right Brain Records
A1 Body Chemistry
A2 Harmonic 33
A3 Cymatic Mambo
B1 Modern Medicine
Click here to download this record!