Sunday, August 4, 2013
Ah, 'Lectric Blue: Piero Umiliani- Synthi Time (1971)
Synthi Time is one of my favorite Umiliani LPs, largely because it is so simple and direct in design and selection. Produced in his own laboratory of sound and vision, the Sound Work Shop, Synthi Time comprises 14 selections, many of them variations on recurring compositions, done in a variety of musical styles and tempos, executed in a breathtakingly simple synthesizer vocabulary. Pastoral, exotic, and strangely innocent, Umiliani's restless, childlike experimentation and toy-box sound on this album is to my ears reminiscent of Roedelius' work (and some of Moebius', among other Kraut synth-wizards), and paints a picture in the mind of a bizarre, alternate dimension dream of a nonexistent children's animation. It also sounds a lot like a genius playing around with new synthesizers and their tempo/style settings, using familiar melodies for the sake of freer stylistic experimentation-- which is probably pretty close to the truth of it.
Many of these melodies appear elsewhere in Umiliani's ouvre-- I know I recognize some tunes from the Zeudi trilogy-- but it all feels very fresh and vital, as though a robot angel had dropped these sounds out of the sky in the form of a glowing cube. The tones are warm and breezy, and the music is as beautiful and pure as the sky is blue. The composition-repetition only increases the flow of dreamlike continuity.
This one has been around for a long time. Far from a scoop, I know. But it seems like one that is often overlooked in favor of more flashy or overtly complex Umiliani efforts, so I wanted to highlight it (also it has been charming the hell out of me this summer, growing more fond to me by the day, which I wouldn't have said was possible a few years ago). So have at it, and enjoy your beautiful summer days. Thanks to all who checked out my last mix, by the way.
SYNTHI TIME (192)