Original Issue: 1982 North Star Productions (NSP-2003) Buy it here!
Margot-meter: 5 moons / 5
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Chances are you won't have heard of J D Emmanuel before.
This record in particular was a private pressing released back in 1982 and owned by a select few punters who quite clearly did their research. In recent years the record's reputation has spread, with rumours circulating that it was a transcendent blend of Terry Riley, The BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Popul Vuh and early Kraftwerk - but finding it was about as easy as looking for a connection between Wolf Eyes and The Spice Girls.
Then, without fanfare, the album re-appeared as a limited edition on the Belgian 'Dreamtime Taped Sounds' and we knew as soon as we got our grubby mitts on a copy that this was something that simply had to be heard to be believed, that would stun just about everyone we know with its almost meditative electronic explorations.
I'm sure many of you remember Delia Derbyshire's amazing 'Electrosonic' LP (that lasted about two weeks...) and this album gives us the same kind of chills, it's just THAT sound, it's impossible to put your finger on but even more impossible to re-create. With the amount of retro-electronic music coming out at the moment you'd think someone would have nailed it, but no, it's still these records that emerged at the time, that came from people genuinely excited by the technology and the possibilities this technology could inform that really hit you where you need to be hit. Using three Sequential Circuit Pro-1 synthesizers, a Crumar Organ and some delays (recording direct to tape) Emmanuel manages to conjure up deep, distorted faraway lands, astral plains and shimmering multi-coloured skies - the soft synthesizer tones dictating the journey perfectly. Whether with bubbling, almost sequenced-sounding synth bass, or with organ-like improvised phrases, Emmanuel never takes a wrong turn and this is an album that will rarely leave your turntable (trust me, it's been welded to mine since I got it).
The sensitivity and simplicity of the music is almost impossible to convey, suffice to say we think it's one of the best (and most unexpected) things we've heard this year so far, and followers of early electronic music, Kraftwerk and the Radiophonic Workshop need to get a hold of one right away. Stunning stuff, and incredibly limited - we only have a few so be quick if you want to secure yourself a copy.