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Simon James (The Simonsound) presents a vinyl + CD package of electronic music made for an imagined, abandoned space: Akiha Den Den, decomposing amusement park radio drama. Rusty ghost trains and doomed dodgems are conjured by radiophonic-inspired cues. With an unuaual array of characters: a talking cockroach and a radio enthusiast (Ian McDiarmid) picking up frantic radio waves from the desolate site. Interference and bites of broadcasts and signals pepper the music played on unique vintage synths. Clear vinyl LP with booklet and 70 minute CD of modular drones and noise from the radio series.

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  • / Limited clear vinyl LP on Castles In Space. Includes exclusive 70 minute CD of additional material and redacted booklet. Edition of 300 copies

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Akiha Den Den by Simon James 1 review. Add your own review. 8/10
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8/10 Staff review, 01 August 2017

Many musicians employ synthesizers to evoke the sounds of space -- real or imagined -- and of course that’s what Simon James, as The Simonsound, has been (very neatly) doing on previous records. Here, though, for Akiha Den Den James has created a world evoking abandoned spaces and surreal, spooky, ghostly radio transmissions. Spectral voices and ethereal (library) tape effects ahoy! A woven tapestry of found sounds make up the Concrète accompaniment to the radio drama written and directed by Neil Cargill (you can listen here:

A woman’s desperate voice, drowning in static, is barely audible at the intro to the record but catches the attention of Ian McDiarmid, playing the part of M.R. Cuttings, radio enthusiast. They also call them ‘hams’, I believe… Anyway, thusly is Akiha Den Den revealed, over scrambled radio-waves. Radio hum is recreated by overlaid synth textures, which reach an achingly claustrophobic peak on ‘Breaking Through’. Radiophonic melodies punctuate the mini-snippets of dialogue. There’s the dustily gentle ‘Akiha Den Den Theme’ and the wayward, more random-sounding ‘Codes and Signals’.

McDiarmid’s character reveals himself to be droll and appropriately cutting: “Nobody can leave, eh?”, he half-chuckles (‘It’s Her Again’), on Side B track 1. The characters are engaged, at least, over the murky electronic world. The synth textures are delicately balanced between ominous and melancholy; ‘Cold Ending’ recalls Tangerine Dream at their most half-lit and mysterious. The story reveals itself, slowly, through the voices either side of the radio ether. A record that will hold the attention of fans of imaginative electronica, parallel worlds, radio drama and vintage synths.


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