Boomkat Product Review:
The mothership has landed: Roland Kayn’s mindblowing 1984 “cybernetic” masterpiece is finally available again, newly remastered by Jim O’Rourke, delivering hours of thee deepest space music ever conceived. “Visionary” only scratches the surface, this is truly next level, peerless work. This version features Tektra digitally for the first time in consistent channel order with ‘Etoral' and ‘Rhenit' in their original positions and uncut, revealing additional music not available on a digital format until now.
'Tektra’ is a standout in the catalogue of Roland Kayn (1933* - 2011 †) - a legendary figure whose work bridges the early electronic innovation of his tutor Oskar Sala; the free improv experiments of his work in Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza with Ennio Morricone; and the furthest limits of c.20th computer music. Despite cult acclaim from the heaviest synth heads, Kayn’s work has remained largely off-the-radar until relatively recently, with each reissue and archival deep dive now received with due reverence by new ears, ultimately leading to this, his 1984 payload of computer generated abstraction that absorbs the mind like nothing else. It’s been a proper touchstone to us for many years, and although available as compressed YouTube files, it has been out of reach in full fidelity for far too long, making this release utterly indispensable for listeners of insatiable persuasions who really want to get into it.
Issued over 10 years since the incredible German composer passed away, ‘Tektra’ is the one we’d recommend any newcomer with a glint in their eye and a hunger for the true electronic spice. It stands as an ideal example of Kayn’s “cybernetic music”, in which he tasked hugely unwieldy, early computers to express unfathomably complex functions, and modelled the results in sound. In ceding as much control as possible to the machines, Kayn comes uncannily close to voicing their inner thoughts and, with it, the mysteries of the universe. This may sound a bit far-fetched, but once experienced, it’s hard not to talk about his compositions in sacred terms, touching as they do on the ineffable, the sublime, and truly transcendent in their ultra fine gradated, star system-leaping, pitchbending harmonic transitions between milky way spumed angelic chorales and phantasmically chasmic darksides.
Frankly ‘Tektra’ contains some of the greatest electronic music ever made. It utterly uproots the fundamentals of musical structure and renders it anew, deeply probing its conventions and questioning the role of the composer in the age of computer-aided sound creation. But it should be considered that it was made long before the ready availability of DAWs and their colouring book templates, effectively starting from a sort of tabula rasa to create immeasurably billowing tapestries of sound with seemingly no beginning or end, that communicate in a language of sheer sensory reception that triggers the most atavistic, as well as futuristic, sensations.
Make some time and space, and dive in head first for untold rewards.