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dr lopez

Synectics - The Purple Universe / CAT 006 CD

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The first official Rephlex-only CD is upon us in the form of CAT 006 CD: Synectics - The Purple Universe, released in 1993 and sporting a flashy translucent purple jewel case!

Let's get through the technical details before we talk about the music. The CD release contains 3 tracks left of the original LP release, which itself sported a rather bizarre sleeve and label, neither containing purple (!?!?) It's clear the definitive edition of this release is the CD. Synectics was made up of a Swiss duo of Marco Repetto & Stefan Riesen, who were in the process of starting their own (excellent) label Axodya, which released all sorts of continental early 90s IDM with v high quality control imo. They are both still around but have maintained a fairly low profile since Axodya ended in the late 90s. I would love some represses from that label if anyone important is reading this! Maybe just a digital bandcamp?
 

The Purple Universe was certainly relegated to "rephlex obscura" until late last year when Musique pour la danse announced a "remaster" and repress of the CD track listing on 2 LPs! Apparently the repress is quite nice, although I'm not sure what the remaster is? From original DATs? Or did they just press the CD to wax. Not sure. If anyone got the repress please sound off in the comments. It's available here. They included a fair amount of hagiography that I won't post here but it's kind of charming. Also, thankfully the remaster is now up on Spotify.

OK let's get to the music. If you like early 90s British/Post-detroit techno/R&S era with slight drexciyan inflections, you shouldn't miss this. If that's extremely your shit, it's a real diamond in the rough. There are eerie samples, there are 909 patterns and snare rushes, there are tasty acid lines: in general the analog synth worth is great. I would say it generally avoids the more Ravey club style (like CJ bolland for example) in favor of a more introspective, spectral style; why it probably appealed to Rich and Grant. The "headliner" is the opening 24 minute opus, which starts big but then morphs into some excellent ambient interludes. The length of that opener grabs attention but for me the two standout tracks are "Free Sphere" and "Untitled" wedged in the middle of the CD.

Spoiler

 

"Free Sphere" builds off a simple moogy synth pattern and gradually adds elements over its 11+ min runtime creating a comforting wall of playful sounds. Quite easy to get into happy place with this one, and not something you would find that often on other releases of this era. The next track "Untitled" is some more standard acid fare, but after the chill vibes of Free Sphere it does a great job getting the foot tapping again. "Red Clouds" sounds like it's straight off an early B12 12".

Spoiler

 

 

There really isn't a weak track on here, which is quite impressive. Perhaps the only bad thing I can say is that The Purple Universe doesn't seem distinct enough from the era to really soar into "timeless classic" territory, but it certainly has it's own quirks. In general, similar the Philosophy of Sound comp, the optimism and naivete of this new style is incredibly infectious. Anything and everything seemed possible at the start of the 90s. And now knowing what came out at the decade's end ... everything WAS possible. You can *feel* the energy and brazen confidence to try anything - one of the reasons I LOVE this era of electronic music. Great release and definitely worth a listen. 4.5/5.

Up next... RDJ himself... with AB3! stay tuned...

 

Edited by dr lopez
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I'm enjoying this as it's making me remember buying (or in some cases not being able to buy ) the releases. Thank you. Can I subscribe some how? 

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I'm enjoying it too! I don't think there is a subscribe button... maybe if you subscribe to the subforum... that might work!

Honestly JR or a mod should pin links to these in the music subforum so we can get some more traffic. I don't think that many people come into the rephlex subforum!!! @Joyrex

Edited by dr lopez
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1 hour ago, dr lopez said:

I'm enjoying it too! I don't think there is a subscribe button... maybe if you subscribe to the subforum... that might work!

Honestly JR or a mod should pin links to these in the music subforum so we can get some more traffic. I don't think that many people come into the rephlex subforum!!! @Joyrex

Agreed - a first step is promoting it via the Our Picks section (see the bottom of the forum index) as well as on the WATMMOfficial Twitter account!

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7 hours ago, whosebrian said:

I thought the 2LP pressing sounds good. Big Bigeneric fan also.

thats good to hear. I'm still assuming it's pressed from a CD rip tho?

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1 hour ago, dr lopez said:

I'm still assuming it's pressed from a CD rip tho?

It looks to be on the up-and-up, there's no hard cutoff at 22k.

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Heard this for the first time probably about 10-15 years ago when combing thru the Rephlex catalogue and searching for unfamiliar artists, intrigued by this release so early in the labels history when they were still quite narrow in scope. I remember being impressed that it was up to the same quality as the likes of Bytes and Electro-Soma. 

Then when it got repressed last year I got another chance to get into it again. Like lots of early Rephlex its that winning mix of acid, detroit techno and ambient that still works today, this time with a slightly heavier emphasis on proggy, Tangerine Dream-esque beatless excursions and an overall more pensive, reserved mood to the 909 driven tracks... 

 

Worth checking out their later EPs and work as A3000 amd Silver Zone. Its a very consistent discography.

 

Edited by Key

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