The late Robert Rental laid down this little album at his flat in Battersea throughout 1980. Bar two tunes being re-recorded for a Mute single late in the year, the bulk of the tracks that make up Different Voices For You, Different Voices For Me have been on a cassette, gathering dust. Now the good folk at Optimo have tidied up the recordings (not too much, mind - there's still tape hiss a-plenty here) for this release. It’s an intimate, esoteric, highly innovative album of home taping. Ariel Pink wishes he was this good.
LP £13.99 OMRental01
7-track Mini-LP on Optimo Music.
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Robert Rental was an underground artist who worked primarily in the post punk era and was notable for being in the Normal with Daniel Miller. Only one single of his solo work was released and the rest remained out of sight from the public. For fans the rediscovery of these recordings will be most exciting I'd imagine. Though to the first time listener it's more of a challenge to know what the fuss was about. It's murky, almost gothy lo-fi that is drenched and tape hiss. It's messiness certainly recalls the off kilter meanderings of Aerial Pink. Everything is played in a laconic fashion and picking out melody becomes a frustrating focus. Perhaps my issue is that these aren't 'pop' songs as such and instead are mood pieces with Rental building up atmospheres slowly with vocals often wordless caterwauling drifting over the top. The closing 'On Location' sounds rather like a drunk Joy Division recording on a 4 track machine it's Peter Hook ish bass line slicing over the discordant synths - it's probably the most assured thing here. Opener 'Big Day' sees Rental heading towards simple pop structures but his voice really is a struggle. If you like minimal synth stuff and lo-fi post punk this could be a treasure trove of lost bedroom recordings but I'm failing to see where the 'lost genius' I've been reading about fits in to what I'm hearing.
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- Different Voices For You, Different Colours For Me. Demos 1980 by Robert Rental
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