Posts Tagged ‘Minimal Synth’

Igor Wakhevitch – Kshtrayna (The Eye of The Bird)

Transversales Disques brings forth a lost gem from avant-garde composer Igor Wakhevitch. The electronic pioneer spent years in the circles of Terry Riley, Jen-Michel Jarre, Soft Machine and Pink Floyd, spreading a love for experimental synth wherever he went. His prolific period during the ‘70s produced the synth albums Logos, Docteur Faust, , Les Fous D’or and Naugal. Riley in particular was influential in shaping the sound of Hathor which found Wakhevitch pushing towards a more minimalist sound. Likewise, he found inspiration and collaboration with Salvador Dali, writing the music for his audiovisual “opera poème” in 6 parts, “Etre Dieu.” He’d go in to work further in theater and opera throughout the ‘80s, but never strayed from the longform Cosmic pieces that embraced a sense of otherworldly wonder.

In 1999, he composed these pieces on his “Mysterious Island 88” stynthesizer system and it embraces a sense of wonder and elnlightenement. Kshtrayna (The Eye of The Bird) ties nicely with his ‘70s output, feeling like a natural progression of the themes and textures he explored during the period. The set was never release, but has now found is way onto CD and LP via the French record label. Fans of Riley and Ash Ra Temple will find a great deal of crossover here, splitting the middle ground between academic composition and a more psychedelic pathway to the inner cosmos.



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V/A – Electroconvulsive Therapy Volume 4: The Art Of Survival

Still sifting through the dust of Record Store Day for the worthwhile bits that inevitably get stranded and trampled underfoot. This compilation from Medical Records that rounds up singles from UK minimal synth label Survival Records is just such a gem. This is the label’s third collection of older Survival material, but they’re still uncovering some propulsive, twisted tunes from a time when offbeat electronica was relegated to underground club nights and sifting through mail order addresses was the only way to slot a few of these onto your shelf. The collection’s notable for highlighting Survival’s disco fallout paired with scotch-taped synth-pop for crossovers that are equally as danceable as they are stuck in the pre-Devo dominance, post Heldon prog-punk hybrid pocket.

The dichotomy is evident on excellent b-sides from The Limit, whose “OK Go” and “Do It” pack both spacey atmospherics and hard-edged funk breakdowns. This collection also highlights a few tracks from Richard Bone, a soundtrack composer moonlighting as a synthpop overlord who wound up being regarded as a founder of the NYC electronic boom in his time. The label also gave new life to Bone’s Brave Tales as part of RSD, a treasure in its own right. The comp probably isn’t tops on the list of essential rundowns wrapping up this type of sound, but for collectors of Survival or general synth-pop archival explorers, this is a worthwhile pickup for sure.




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John Bender – I Don’t Remember Now / I Don’t Want To Talk About It

Not to be confused with the Breakfast Club character of similar name, John Bender recorded scores of tracks in his Cincinnati home in the late ’70s and early ’80s, putting the results out in minuscule runs on his own Record Sluts label. The tracks are never denoted by name, but rather position on the tapes that he amassed as he recorded this stockpile of material. Hence, “35B1” would be on tape #35, side B, track 1. He then rounded them up into collections and hand stamped the covers, each one unique.

But what’s more beguiling than the process or the packaging is the music contained inside, a kind of shut in electronic DIY. Minimalist to its core, the tracks are stripped to their core, all chewed wire and buzzing synths with close-miced vocals, each track feels like a bomb shelter blast of paranoid wrath. Included in the set is a duct-taped deconstruction of Faust’s “It’s A Rainy Day” that seems to slot itself in just perfect with the rest of Bender’s minimalist creations. Superior Viaduct is wrapping this lost gem up in a limited red vinyl package and hand-stamping the covers in a nod to Bender’s originals. For the fans of less is more, this one’s a necessary find given new life.




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