Editors: Jonas Foerster; Lloyd Cole.
In 2013, German label Bureau B (which is responsible for bringing dozens of crucial Krautrock obscurities back into circulation) released Selected Studies, Vol. 1, an unlikely yet fascinating collaboration between Cluster co-founder Hans-Joachim Roedelius and veteran British singer/songwriter Lloyd Cole. The entirely instrumental effort felt more like a Roedelius album than one by Cole, who had just began experimenting with modular synthesizers, but his sense of enthusiastic exploration was clearly evident in the resulting recordings. Both Roedelius and Cole recorded hours of material for the project, and Bureau B was interested in releasing an album of Cole's solo electronic experiments. The result is 1D Electronics 2012-2014, an album markedly more stripped-down than Selected Studies, lacking its additional textures such as classical piano or new age synth washes. The album was almost entirely sequenced, without a keyboard or laptop in sight, other than for recording purposes. Even if Cole's singular analog synth patterns were created with the intention of being expanded upon by Roedelius, they stand out on their own and aren't nearly as one-dimensional as the title somewhat self-deprecatingly suggests. In fact, in a strange way, some of this album seems more expressive than the glossier moments of its predecessor. It's minimalist, sure, but it's never reductive or boring. Even while Cole intentionally leaves space, what's present counts for a lot. The clicking, clapping beats of "Ken-O" are expertly balanced with prism-like melodies and a hint of icy atmosphere. Slippery fragments "One Voice" and "Pertronics" echo the early studio experiments of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Best of all is the album's most expansive and expressive cut, the nine-minute "Slight Orchestra," which gently shimmers like a calm body of water reflecting a warm, graceful sunset. Closing track "Strands" delights in the fluid, dripping sounds produced by the synthesizers. Even though Cole refers to 1D Electronics as an album of "slight pieces," they're much more than that. ~ Paul Simpson
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- Selected Studies, Vol. 1 [Digipak] (Roedelius)