Boomkat Product Review:
Dutch electronic music boffins Albert van Abbe and Jochem Paap (Speedy J) plumb the depths of early synthesisers at Willem Twee studios, Den Bosch, for wickedly coarse, rudimentary results comparable to rawest Pan Sonic, CMvH or H30 apparitions, or early explorations of Gottfried Michael Konig and Dick Raaijmakers
Electronic music with gristle and genuine enigma, ‘General Audio’ gives voice to an array of 1950s test and measure equipment originally designed for the maintenance of audio and radio transmitters. Repurposing archaic gear to find new-old sounds, techno experimenters van Abbe and Paap get down to some of the grubbiest cuts in either artist’s extensive catalogues, making critical use of the esteemed Willem Twee studios’ acoustics as variable in creation of the album’s unusual tonalities, timbre and mechanical pulses.
“The record opens with 220Lock-in, a gently undulating drone composition. Effervescent at the top end and fathoms deep at the bottom, it shifts ominously with ring modulated tones that build and then give way to thick washes of white noise. A single synth flourish provides a surprising final moment. The record continues with WZ-1Wobbel Zusatz, a low-sunk percussive piece with an off-kilter rhythm and wet spring reverb doing the bulk of the sonic heavy lifting. Deep in the mix, delicate shifts in pitch and tone deliver a kind of arcane musicality, and as the recording approaches its final moments the piece descends into an exhilarating chaos, with sonic components falling slowly by the wayside. Pegelmesser riffs on a similar reverb characteristic, but this time a driven, arp-like lead propels the work forward. Crisp shifts in colour and distortion arrive unexpectedly, providing a curious musical sensation once more – and harsher moments of feedback break up the recording in its later stages. On Rel 3L 212c LC-pi the pair strip things back, with more present percussive components and subtle distortion lines, before Wandel ups the ante with a corrosive dirge broken up by sporadic submerged synth hits. The penultimate recording SR 250 Boxcar Averager shows off impressive pitch modulation, resulting in a variety of intriguing sensations. Cinematic and remarkably visual, it charts a strange and affecting course, the synth lead underpinned by a repetitive percussive motif and all manner of sends delivering fascinating details. Nim Bin closes the record and once more van Abbe and Paap invite that subtle musicality into the recording. A tight VCO modulation drives the piece while various percussive synth strikes provide a kind of rhythmic component, though they remain untethered to any time signature – a neat conclusion to an intriguing and exploratory record.”