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Synthetik 1 by Seesselberg
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8/10 Mike 17 January 2014

Here's an absolutely fascinating and beautifully reproduced reissue of an LP of early modular synth experiments by two German brothers, Eckart and Wolf Seesselberg. This maverick duo started young, with older brother Wolf encouraging his younger sibling to build walkie-talkies and eventually electronic sound generators in the mid-60s when he was still in his early teens!

By the 1971-'73 period in which these pieces were recorded, then, the pair already had several years of experience honing their mysterious machinery, which they would demonstrate in gallery performances. Despite falling quite squarely into the "kraut" bracket this isn't an LP of coldly grooving repetition, rather an alien landscape of ticks and squeaks and drones and whooshes which range from freeform synth tinkering to percussive-sounding loops and dial-up screeching to Clangers-esque spacescapes complete with aggressive panning, and even some desolate slow-flowing drones which sound like they would slot perfectly onto any number of modern dark ambient records.

It's a satisfyingly varied listen, with the brothers having fun and playing off one another whilst getting on with the serious business of exploring the limits of what their pioneering machines will do. If you're into this lab-coat-and-gloves school of early electronics then it's thoroughly listenable fare and an historical curiosity too. Beautifully put together reissue with a shiny reverse pasted sleeve, fold-out insert with loads of photos, and a couple of reproduction postcards for the brothers' gallery shows.


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