Yes, that Lloyd Cole, of The Commotions and Rattlesnakes fame, now collaborating with Roedelius, ambient pioneer and co-founder of the krautrock groups Cluster and Harmonia, and very much in Roedelius’ territory.

While the opening and closing pairs of these Selected Studies are nuanced and very pretty, the third, “Wandelbar” is a superb blend of unsettlements: slippery low-end rumble, queasy high-pitch tonnes and washes of stridulatory weirdness. Its ending sounds like a field recording from an alien insectary.

Other tracks offer trig points. “Still life with Kannyu” is a subtle blend of cloudy synth, Feneszian guitar glitches and FX’d piano. “TangoLargo” could be a classic Tangerine Dream track, albeit with added pigeons. “Fehmarn F/O” is bolder, a rococo tribute to To Rococo Rot, perhaps. Album closer “Lullerby” has some of Plone’s sweet nostalgia for 1950s futurity (whatever happened to Plone?).

This music sounds too organic to be, as it is, music composed by file share.

In 2001 Lloyd Cole made Plastic Wood (One Little Indian), an album of ambient “mood pieces”. Roedelius, apparently, loved it, versioned it with overdubs, and sent the unsolicited remix to Cole. While Roedelius’ take on Plastic Wood remains in the can, the Studies fileshare collaboration followed, with Cole and Roedelius finally meeting in person only in 2011, once the album was completed.

Anyone who likes Cluster (or Eno) should check this out, but I’m not sure what Cole’s fans will make of it, as he neither sings here, nor plays guitar; it’s a purely ambient, experimental electronic work.

Selected Studies seems an appropriate title. Although the ten tracks complement each other nicely, each has its own individuating character. Juxtaposed, they seem both hermetic and hermeneutical. It’s easy to envisage the dual layering of painstaking creative concentration that went into their realisation. I didn’t think this would be any good. Now I want to hear Vol. 2.

Link to original article online

Publication: Dalston Sound

Publication date: 13/02/13