Alan Hawkshaw and Brian Bennett - Synthesizer and Percussion (Themes Reissues)
LP - Remastered 180 Gram Vinyl.
Released in the same year as Synthesis over on KPM, 1974's Synthesizer and Percussion is its essential companion piece. “This record features the many distinctive sounds of the ARP Synthesizer plus percussion in various moods and tempos” is the even more underwhelming than usual library record sales pitch for Alan Hawkshaw and Brian Bennett’s second collection of what is basically minimal G-funk, with overtones of primitive acid house. This is ridiculously good. This is one of Hawkshaw and Bennett’s wilder joints and aeons ahead of its time. Bennett’s tough drums provide the underpinnings for the prominent bass, keys and bubbling synths high up in the mix, alongside Hawkshaw’s deranged clavinet-funk-rock. There are heavenly break loops galore.
Opener Mon Amour is ultra-smooth funk, all inter-weaving melodic lines whilst the seminal Oddball is an incredible hard electro strut with a knocking break. Mile High Swinger is a tranquil Spaghetti Western whistling theme over double tempo rhythmic movement and the pulsating Auto Pilot has a percussive groove elevated by electric piano and synthesizer. Check Driving Force, Home Run and Pacesetter for electroid prog-funk dripped in acid squelch. All five final tracks are beatless synth workouts, because they can.
As with all ten re-issues, the audio for Synthesizer and Percussion comes from the original analogue tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. The same care has been taken with the sleeves, handing the reproduction duties over to Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity.