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- Voices Of Packaged Souls by Suzanne Ciani
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Many of you, like me, probably only properly got exposed to the work of Suzanne Ciani when Finders Keepers put out that superb retrospective LP a few months ago, shining a spotlight on her sublimely crafted, melodic yet playful electronica from the '70s and '80s. On this disc here Dead Cert Records have done a proper vinyl pressing of the rarest item from her back-catalogue - which originally got pressed in a run of around 50 to accompany an art exhibition all the way back in 1970.
The press release says she is “now recognised in the press as the Delia Derbyshire of the Atari Generation”. I'll tell you what that means. It means she was described on the sleeve and press release of her last record as “the Delia Derbyshire of the Atari Generation”. Does that really count? Either way, if you're not familiar with Ciani already, that anthology is really the place to start. Truly wonderful. The point that she was on the leading edge of her generation is a fair one.
If you're expecting the same fluid melodies and craftfully layered textures which were overflowing from that 'Lixiviation' collection you could be disappointed here, as the pieces on here are more in the experimental modular textures vein, with repetitive pulses and whooshes being the order of the day, far more in keeping with the experiments of the likes of Daphne Oram, with disjointed squiggles and uncomfortably-pitched wibbles all over the place, carving playful and otherworldly little sketches. Each piece begins with a short speech sample followed by Ciani's chirrupping synthetic interpretation of it.
It's a confusing piece, much more cerebral than the melodic work she's better recognised for and with a focus on the equipment being used rather than Ciani's excellent musicianship, and to the layman this is an LP which would be described as “hard work” or “confusing”, but if you're into your vintage synth business this is a collection of some rarest, earliest Ciani and as such should automatically pique your interest. The shiny screenprinted sleeves look well nice, too.
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