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15 January 2012

Edmond de Deyster - 'Selectie 01' (Ultra Eczema)

Ah, how one craves the archival obscurity, and the blossoming excitement that comes with a nice reissue. Edmond de Deyster is a Flemish synth pioneer who OD'd in 1999, leaving a massive pile of unreleased analogue synthesiser recordings.  This series of LPs (of which I only have the first, sorry) comes from the stack of reel-to-reel tapes he left behind, and dates from 1975.  Selectie 01 begins with a difficult side-long piece, a pure experiment, where high and low tones fight against organisational strategies, while ultimately assembling together.  De Deyster's edge is soft, with rounded hues that emerge in and out of hazy darkness.  It's a tough way to start a record, even a record of experimental solo synth marketed at fans of such a sound.  It takes ages to coagulate (or arguably, never does).  The flipside is a bit more palatable - split into three tracks, each with distinct compositional identity.  Side two cut one is a classic slab of slowly unfolding malevolence, packed with sounds eeking out toward murky unknowns.  It works itself out slowly, and while I'm sure most of De Deyster's work is largely improvised, this feels very certain.  Compared to the side two track two's ambulance-shards, beeping throughout, side two track one is relatively placid, a tone picked up again on the album's closer.  This could all be a hoax - an attempt to build a mythic legend, when these sounds were actually made in an Antwerp basement in 2006 - but does it really matter?  Would I have been as interested?  There's a certain gesture of faith in releasing an LP of an old, dead, lost artist - particularly if one still adheres to the standard routine that an artist must perform live to "promote" the record - an impossibility in the case of a reissue.  So the label sticks it out anyway and still produces the record, even though there's less chance to recuperate the investment.  I'm not the biggest fan of solo synth experimentation, so I hereby admit that I probably wouldn't have bought this if it was, say, a Dolphins into the Future LP.  As to how it affects my enjoyment of the record, well, I'm not completely sure of that either.  One purpose of this exercise is to listen to music as music, but then I've had trouble avoiding my own extrinsic readings filtering in.  So we'll leave this here and move on...

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