Sometimes the underground is a surreal place to be.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Series 2: Synth Singles

Today it's four singles, two by classic belgian group Bernthöler, one belgian-only Section 25 release, and a classic Italo track off the 7" release. I'll also be trying to rip a House comp from '89 and a Sunny Ade album later on tonight. For now the singles, apologies for the quality but they were all Thing finds.

Bernthöler - Japanese Garden (1982)

My favorite of the lot, I believe Japanese Garden is done with a 606 while The Other (which sounds like an earlier composition given the punky live instrumentation) is a DR-55, based on this site. The synths are monos, probably Roland but I can hardly ever tell. The single is mis-labeled as "the Others" and the band name was supposed to be Bernthøler. For fans of Tuxedomoon and their assorted side projects, I can really understand why they made the move to Brussels around this period.

Bernthöler - My Suitor (1983)

This is their later song and a much bigger hit for the group. By this point they had moved past the minimal synth-pop of Japanese Garden and moved into live orchestral instrumentation, which has not aged as well if you ask me. My least favorite of the singles in this post, instrumentation notwithstanding it's just not a particularly interesting song (although it has been called one of the most important Belgian singles and apparently covered many times). Video confirms my previous suspicion, that's an SH-101 he's playing at about 40 seconds in.

Section 25 - Crazy Wisdom (1985)

Belgium-only Section 25 release from 1985, and the only 12" of the lot. First side is a great bit of Factory synth material while the second is a ripping sort of disco track (I suppose an example of what got the goth JD fan carryovers here in the US music press so disenchanted with them around this time) and a pretty little guitar/flute/drum machine peice.

Fokewulf 190 - Body Heat (1984)

Forgot that this was an Italo track last batch, otherwise I'd have included it. Fits this era a bit better anyway. I love arpeggiators. Probably Roland polysynths (Jupiters in the studio I imagine), Korg filters of the time tended to be a bit muddier. Could be a Prophet but I don't know how those went over in Italy.

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