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- Check Point Charlie by Ghedalia Tazartes
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I’ve encountered Ghedalia Tazartes’s recent work before now but this reissue of an album recorded in ‘89 and released in ‘90, previously only available on CD, is my first time hearing any of his output from as far back as the late ‘80s. It’s a mixture of ominous and slightly clunky synthwork that sounds like the soundtrack from some medieval-based ‘80s TV series, surprisingly contemporary-sounding sampledelia, and lashes of Tazartes’s trademark opinion-dividing ritualistic vocal gibberings. Think Efrim Menuck having a wordless but nonetheless vocal conversation with an infant.
It says a lot for it that Phil simply assumed it was a new release until I told him it was almost 25 years old. As it progresses he keeps throwing in new surprises like sweeping strings, layered Einsturzende Neubauten-esque chantings, puttering staccato brass, disjointed concrete speech samples - my favourite part comes halfway through the third side where he rambles over some messed up orchestral loops and unsettling field recordings to rousing and mind-boggling effect...he does an excellent job at sounding completely unhinged whilst still completely focused and confident in his own mind-melting vision.
This is ‘Check Point Charlie’’s first time on vinyl, in a run of just 400 from the ever-awesome Holidays, and the pressing sounds great. Groundbreaking stuff in its time, this is still fresh and unique and most importantly enjoyable!
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