Superb set of synthesiser music from Jean-Marc Foussat and Thomas Lehn on Spielgelungen (FOU RECORDS FR – CD 31). Both play the Synthi AKS, Foussat adds vocals too, and he also mixed, edited and mastered the finished product. A single hour-long track recorded at a concert in Paris in 2017.
Besides being a wonderful performance and exciting music, I think it’s the first time Foussat has performed with Lehn. German genius Lehn has appeared on many favourite records in these pages, and the trend that emerges for me is his boldness of execution, his imaginative reach, his technical skills…he is able both as a free improviser, a noisy electronic artist, and as an interpreter of scores, notably on the challenging CD of the work of Roman Haubenstock-Ramati we noted in 2020. Lehn has an academic training background which undoubtedly assists to elevate his work in the stratosphere, while Jean-Marc Foussat is one I tend to characterise as a player who is instinctive and spontaneous in his approach to manipulating the AKS, his chosen device and one which he has made uniquely his own – starting in 1983 if not earlier, with his outspoken EMS work on the Abbatage LP.
I seem to be stressing the personalities of the players here to some extent, but this is what emerges very strongly when you hear this astonishing Spielgelungen set – a lot of warmth, compassion, ideas, conversations, juice, blood, fire…electronic music that speaks to us and communicates, rather than sitting politely in the background like ambient wallpaper. It’s a commonplace to use a cliché like “all human life is here”, but there’s so much variety in the form and textures on Spielgelungen, from contemplating the eternal mysteries with cryptical sounds, to raging blindly at the forces of evil with powerful blasts of explosive dynamite, to causing circuits to fry until they chatter in unstoppable fashion like all the creatures of the sea suddenly equipped with psychedelic talking teeth.
A remarkable outer-space cosmo-mistico exploration worthy of Sun Ra’s most unhinged moog moments, as bold a technological experiment as anything Stockhausen dreamed of, a human document of a “life lived” (vecu) representing the twin personalities of these eccentric, bold, inventive geniuses…essential purchase! From 16th December 2020.