Monday, February 7, 2011

Harald Grosskopf - Synthesist (1980)


For fans of: Oneohtrix Point Never, Klaus Schulze, Manuel Göttsching

This album starts as a downpour of synths and percussion, and ends as a soft and flowing wave of sound. Although it comes from a prominent member of 70s Krautrock, along with Manuel Göttsching's and Klaus Schulze's work it fully embraces the possibilities of electronics as a primary instrument. On the cover it says "New Age Music," and I couldn't disagree, but it's not really ambient, and isn't something to just put on in the background. In short, it contains a few really fantastic tracks that are very much ahead of their time. - Matthew Foster

"Synthesist also rhymes with sequential here on, where Grosskopf's powerful pleasure goes deep into dynamic, fizzing electronic compositions, the combination of fairy melodies, cycling keyboard sounds and (last but not least) the percussion infusion being probably dubbed over several rehearsals and synchronized recordings. The taste of these tracks flows exactly like Ashra's un-sensational, but intense and cheerful glimpses (a la Correlations or a bit of un-fluesy Belle Alliance). The soil for this style is nowhere near rich, but it's no pop or grease either, Grosskopf preferring at any time an ambitious and curios dance over fine art or complex looping. On some moment, the drumming is convincingly superior, alternating upwards to some Nietzsche fast taps, or downwards to a split end of lite-disco. The contrast is set by focusing entirely on keyboards and organs (B. Adrian, Trauma), the result being nothing but ambient, lofty and un-smashing, but yet again enjoyable and un-superficial. There's a weak spot in the album, down precisely the last two tracks, which slip deeply and unforgettably into pop-electric/new-age simple hopping music (a la Baumann and other 80s minor soloists)." - Ricochet

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