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Tom Dissevelt & Kid Baltan produced a whole library of unearthly electronic music for the Phillips Research laboratories in the 1950s and '60s. A snapshot of it can be heard in this compilation. Compositions such as "Drifting" could be put forward as precursors to Tangerine Dream's ambient classic Phaedra; "Song of the Second Moon" sounds like a Stanley Kubrick soundtrack out-take, with a more harmonically groove-based feel. Twisted percussion and organ samples aplenty, this LP is an electronic galaxy in sound and scope. 

LP £19.49 TRON5001

Ltd reissue LP on Sonitron. Edition of 300 copies.

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The Fascinating World Of Electronic Music by Tom Dissevelt & Kid Baltan
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8/10 Laurie Staff review, 21 November 2014

This sounds exactly as you’d expect it to. It has one of those titles that echoes the wonder and mystery that the world of electronic music brought during its inception. You mean you can make music from electricity?! Can I make my toaster play Bach?? Robots will be controlling us within 20 years, I tell ya. Ah, stupider times.

Yes, you probably can make your toaster play Bach, but this wasn’t the goal of Dutch production duo Tom Dissevelt & Kid Baltan, who were enrolled into the Philips research lab to compose songs and incidental music for their latest inventions. I’d like to think that they’d got past toasters by that time. It turns out that this new form of music was just as much as an invention as the new audio and broadcast technology that the Phil’ were building, and from listening to El Fascinante, it sounds like they were having loads of fun.

The tracks are all descriptively titled, which is always refreshing for eccentric experimental music. Didn’t think that they liked lending us a helping hand. ‘Intersection’ covers the splicing of orchestral jazz and processed obnoxious sound, repetitive clanking and distants bangs are of course the focus of ‘Mechanical Motions’, and ‘Drifting’ drifts.

From the tiny amount of info available on Sonitron records, I can gather that they are focusing on releasing rare early electronic music, this being their first issue. It is continually impressive that people were making such visionary synthesised music as early as the 50s, and this is a fine example despite there being a fair few studios around the world doing something similar. It’s along the same lines as the BBC Radiophonic workshop, with hints of Henry & Schaeffer and a sprinkle of the San Fran Tape Music Center. All of the music is extremely programmatic which makes it interesting to hear how these two interpret each specific context - take ‘Song of the Second Moon’ for example. It was conceived as the first electronic pop song and while I’m not sure how it’d do in the charts nowadays, its trickles and screeches from resonant synths are an eerie foreshadowing of what was to come in the late 70s and beyond.


Tom Dissevelt - Drifting - YouTube


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