May 2, 2012
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Marginal Cuts Vol. 2

Back with another grip of mutant tracks from the dollar bin gutter. This time, you can’t even dance to ‘em. Nerds only.

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  • Patrick Vian - Tunnel 4 (Red Noise)

Patrick Vian is a little-known French prog-rock oddity, and son of Boris Vian, illustrious Jazz musician and hard-boiled author. This track comes from his one and only album, 1976′s “Bruits et Temps Analogues”, and it’s the most OUT of the bunch. While the LP is chock full of motorik beats and fusion-synth filigree, “Tunnel 4″ goes straight for the cortex. Layered modulations and accelerating arpeggios build into a series of constant build-ups and fly-bys. Chugging white noise rhythms speed past unidentifiable synthetic landmarks, phaser pedal to the metal. Panning atonalities expand and implode in paranoid dissonance, and lines of alien cat-synth occasionally approach a “melody” before they’re consumed by HARD FX. The whole thing stops just about as abruptly as it started, a swirling tech demo of golden-age analogue sound. LINK

This SF-based synth-pop band played it pretty straight throughout the 80s, but this confounding cut off their 1982 debut “Zimmerkampf” stuck with me for its pure “half-assed experimental” approach. For the entirety of the track, a bell-like atonal sing-song melody loops over blurred voices and occasional slap-back echoes. Meanwhile, a subtle bass-synth riff plods absentmindedly underneath, unwilling to abandon the song mentality. Overall, it’s an unusual but charming exercise in spook-house goofery, with a less than expertly executed locked groove kicker. LINK

Another band I know next to nothing about, Electroscope were apparently a duo from the UK, in some sort of league with the early Stereolab/Broadcast “twee experimental” camp. In the opening track from their first LP “Homemade Electroscope”, shrill electronic birdsongs and shuffling static give way to mumbling recitations over crackle-box echolalia, badly tuned shortwaves, and outsider guitar strum (think Shadow Ring lite). This track is definitely on the “vintage” tip, with a patina of Amps for Christ-style cracked domesticity. Dusty and alien. LINK

Kerry Leimer, the mysterious force behind the now-reformed label Palace of Lights brings us a soundtrack-esque synth and piano miniature from his 1980 LP “Closed System Potentials” that deftly straddles the modern composition/minimal electronic boundary. Starkly arranged synth, woodwind, and piano counterpoints build a sense of weirdly idyllic foreboding. Phased and filtered rhythm loops rise and submerge, sounding like massive rusted clockwork. A sombre and succinct etude to the ghosts of industry. LINK