The wonderful STROOM 〰 label expand their precious archive of Lowlands-based synth music with a flowering compilation of Siebe Baarda aka Cybe’s ersatz exotic electronics; Tropisch Verlangen, or Tropical Desire, recorded in the 80's and cast aside to languish in obscurity more or less ever since. Brilliant find this, tipped if yr into early Coil, YMO, Kode 9, Ryuichi Sakamoto.
One of three cassettes issued by the then yung and nascent artist after travelling around India, Indonesia, Thailand, Bali and Java in the early ‘80s, Tropisch Verlangen channels the richness of the sights, smells and feelings Cybe experienced during those trips into an impressionistic moire of shimmering gamelan and nimble electro pieces that resonate with the vibes of Ryuichi Sakamoto’s B-2 Unit classic as much as K. Leimer’s Eastern-facing works or the new age psychedelia of Holland’s Chi Factory.
Using authentically indigenous instruments - Tinklik, Sarong Barong, Genggong, Ching and Suling - as well as a wealth of other synthesisers, samplers, vocoder, gongs, computer and other percussive-melodic pieces like the xylophone and glockenspiel, the results are at once innocently searching and intricately realised. And while his sister, Betty Baarda contributes guitar on one song, The Moon Is Shining Above The Richfield, it’s rather impressively all the work of one man solo in his bedroom/studio.
In that sense, it’s inarguably an ambitious effort, and one that was evidently, beautifully realised at that time. However a lack of recognition beyond a group cult in Amsterdam and a handful of gigs and concerts (especially difficult to play live with tape) meant that he would soon enough sell all his gear and forget about making music, but still listened to it a lot.
The results thankfully live on thru STROOM 〰, reprising the feeling we last felt towards their reissue of Alain Pierre’s Jan Zonder Vrees soundtrack, but with a more piquant tang of unique scales and tingling percussions, including some utterly heart-melting moments in the sublime vignettes of Chinatown and the Sublime Frequencies radio series vibes of Loi Krathong, or the Bamboo Houses styles of Zen Tai.