Lloyd Cole & Hans-Joachim Roedelius - Selected Studies Vol. 1 (Bureau B, 2013)
Unless you’re Brian Eno, electronic / ambient music is all too often overlooked, even if it’s exceedingly well done as here on Selected Studies Volume 1, where Lloyd Cole [known for his work with Lloyd Cole & The Commotions] steps from behind his rocker image, and teams up with long time musical visionary Hans-Joachim Roedelius [known for his avant-garde electronic krautrock], where together they mix and bend their aspirations, and gently rain down notes that are sure to please, no matter which side of the radio dial you find yourself standing.
In keeping with the age we find ourselves living in, it should come as no surprise to learn that while putting this piece together Cole and Roedelius never actually met, choosing instead to exchange files and ideas via the ether, creating music that could be the soundscape for such a place, a place between two places, filled with electronic comings and goings.
The endeavor came about almost by accident ... Lloyd Cole's 2001 release of Plastic Wood found its way into the hands of of Roedelius, who was so taken by the movement that he remixed the entire album, adding overdubs and other sparking touches without ever being asked. He then sent this new vision of Plastic Wood to Cole, who was very taken by the adventure. Needless to say, the Plastic Wood album had already been released, so Cole just kept Roedelius’ project for himself. Flash forward a good ten years, Lloyd Cole is passing through Vienna, and the two finally meet; and Vienna, filled with artistic romance, is where a compositional exchange and exploration of tonal possibilities and maneuvers begins to take shape.
Cole does not sing, nor does he touch his signature guitar even once, and neither does Roedelius make use of his grand piano, leaving the two to circumnavigate a labyrinth of musical textures without relying on the instruments they each know best. The result is a sheer rhythmic harmonic wonder that swirls around the listener, reminding me of the expressions of Claude Debussy, where they create a window to a mysterious world lost to time, with sounds that flicker like a small flames lapping at the edges of logs, burning with a gentle transparency that’s both hypnotic and present ... existing on a single exhaled breath.
Review made by Jenell Kesler /2013
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