American Minimalist composer and electronic music pioneer David Borden originally released ‘Music for Amplified Keyboard Instruments’ in 1981 on Dutch label Red Records. The album is made up of four compositions each played by three musicians, and six keyboard instruments making beautiful ambient patterns of melodic, shimmering progression.
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- Music for Amplified Keyboard Instruments by David Borden
9/10 Laurie Staff review, 26 February 2015
Ah, the ol’ conceptual synth record. Never before has the line between pretentious gear flauntery and textural interest been so easy to misstep. You’ve got sounds from the 70s that were so caught up in the new medium that they forgot to write great music, and modern records that fetishise just that. But there are some who aren’t content with playing the same old chords with an out-of-the-box Moog tone. Enter New York’s David Borden, whose compositions harness the timbral potential of the synth and feature outstanding weaves of melody and rhythm.
Composed in the late 70s and early 80s, the tracks, or should I say pieces, contained within Music for Amplified Keyboard Instruments convey a certain mental picture that holds Borden’s gaze, from runs around a lake at night to the smooth motion of a dancer he taught. Synthetic but rich tones propel his figures forward through lengthy patchwork explorations reminiscent of Laurie Spiegel, Steve Reich and Jo Johnson with only a slight hint of Jarre. Most of the layers are fast and staccato, with a few joining to play slower drawn out chord figures. The ‘continuing story of counterpoint’ parts here are the most enthralling, gripping you in their race towards a comfortable resolution which may never come, but ‘worry’ is something that doesn’t exist within these soundworlds. So um yeah I’m just gonna go and stash this now.
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