Joel Graham originally self-released the material on this release in the mid 1980s, on two private press cassettes. Not much of an impact was made, and it is only down to Orpheu de Jong and Music From Memory that we are hearing Geomancy / Night in 2015. Early groovy electronics: archivally interesting and fun too!
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- Geomancy / Night by Joel Graham
7/10 Laurie Staff review, 02 October 2015
Phil said that this might not need a review but the word ‘geomancy’ is just excellent. What does geomancy sound like? Well take a trip back to ‘82 with Music from Memory, who’ve dug this out of a ‘private issue’ cassette archive. Why were all the music makers so secretive back then? Music’s a public issue. Luckily we’ve realised that by now so you get to hear the forbidden music of yore.
‘Geomancy’ was made before the bulk of the digital revolution so acts as a sort of primitive building of dance patterns on imperfect machines. It starts out very minimal and slow, just the basic drums and a lone synth wiggle, 'til some warm chordal synths drift in to nestle beside the metallic percs. Some bass underpins it all, making it a pretty convincing herald of the coming wave of dance music. Apparently the tracks here were intended to support a live performance that must have never happened (or did to a couple of folks). ‘Geomancy’ is alright I guess, a little straight and perhaps too slow, despite its origins. ‘Night’ is a lot darker, beginning closer to techno territory but not exactly a ‘banger’ by today’s standards. What begins quite noir gives way to more classic electro territory with smoother jovial melodies that’d get Todd Terje’s thumb poking straight upwards. Wouldn’t surprise me if he’s already done an edit of this. Obviously this is prone to simplicity at times, but the different moods on the B side make for great listening.
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