Friday, June 12, 2015
Having already announced the forthcoming release of Ben Zimmerman's new album "The Baltika Years" earlier this year we're now finally able to review the full longplay piece that has been put on the circuit via Software Recording Co. on June 8th, 2015. Holding a massive bunch of 31 tracks, with the epic 21+ minutes opener "Phyllis" being the most heavyweight in terms of playtime whilst the majority of other tracks remaining shorter than 2 minutes, we see a previously unreleased selection of Zimmerman's work created between 1992 and 2002 based on the initially 1984-released program Tandy DeskMate which might give an insight to the cause of the kinda lo-fi'ish sound quality of some tracks. But as early computer music is a fascinating field and especially the opening tune serves a complete journey through different stages of sound, sometimes epic and super chromatic, sometimes hyped and happy whilst several moments of silence subdivide the piece into different chapters, we're pretty sure that "Phyllis" is trying to re-emulate computer game music to a certain and thrilling extent. With "For Mimi Pt.1" and it's four successors we see explorations in more kinda Southeast Asian-reminiscing sound aesthetics happening whilst following bits like "The Scream", "Housed!", "Reverse Me", "75000multicolouredorgasmaticballoons" or "Crystal Lake" are, like many others, short experimental outburst or raw musical sketches. With "Redecorated Proto-Computations" Ben Zimmerman even provides some lo-fi Hard- / Breakcore terrorism, "Da Chopp" enters Glitch- / IDM-realms, the "Yellow Daffodil (Burning) Against A Grey Sidewalk" pays homage to Synth-pioneer Wendy Carlos, "Reso" provides pure Ambient beauty and "Mazer" brings in 20 seconds of bleep madness. Furthermore we'll find score'esque melancholia in "Life Without Liz", dancefloor-seducing beats and melodies in the 67 seconds of "F-Trip", more Breakcore in "Now I Am Numb" and finally a mixture of dark Phonk and wild, tumbling Breakbeats with a partly noir'ish attitude provided by the six parts of the "Pausebreak"-series which might appeal to fans of chopped DarkJungle as once created by artists like Leon Lamont or super underground imprints like Marasm. What a journey.