benge Twenty Systems (CD + Book, £12.50)label: expanding
“A brilliant contribution to the archaeology of electronic music.” - Brian Eno. 20 tracks made on 20 synthesizers spanning 20 years, accompanied by 60 page colour book with a foreword by Robin “Scanner” Rimbaud, ‘Twenty Systems’ is the latest release from electronica artist and Expanding Records founder Ben Edwards aka Benge. His tenth solo album, this ambitious project combines an audio CD of new music with a hardbound full colour book containing photos and diagrams of the electronic instruments used, along with a detailed history documenting the development of synthesizers between 1968 and 1988. The purpose of the record is to demonstrate the development of the synthesizer from the first commercially available systems in the late 1960s to the introduction of fully digital systems in the late 1980s. Although not intended to be a comprehensive history, the listener will hopefully gain some insight into the character of each instrument, and on a more general level experience the evolving sound of synthesis over the years. Each track is the pure sound of an individual instrument, with no additional processing, sequencing or effects applied to any of the recordings. If a system was equipped with an in-built sequencer, it was used, and there are several examples of sound-on-sound processes, where a track is made up of multiple layers of the same synthesizer recorded in parallel. To put it simply, Benge lets the instruments speak for themselves and influence the way each piece is composed. “Lovingly assembled miniature history… indicates what a deliriously desirable thing the synthesis of sound has historically been.” - The Wire… “Achieves eerie resonance thanks to the machines themselves. Near silence slowly fills sad melodies that sound all the more bereft for their sketchy proximity to humanity.” – Uncut… “Absolutely cast iron irrefutable proof that synthesizers are better than guitars” – Vice.
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