Alan Hawkshaw / Brian Bennett - Synthesis LP
Label: Be With
Be With Records presents a reissue of Alan Hawkshaw and Brian Bennett's Synthesis, originally released in 1974. The "vivid contemporary sounds for a fresh visual image" make up the now-canonized Synthesis. These two greats go deep; the end result is a synth concept record of sorts. It's an essential companion piece to their Synthesizer And Percussion LP (1974). Like most of Be With's favorite library records, Synthesis has that gloriously funky "weird electronic music" vibe without ever being inaccessible. With the ARP Odyssey at the fore, Hawkshaw and Bennett have created a blissed-out soundscape laid back in all the right places and somehow also heavy on the funk. It's a throbbing, proto-G-Funk sound that's found on many of these low-lit basement workouts. Take the ice-cool "Alto Glide", a sunset-funk highlight with an electro-flute refrain that conjures those dreamier Dre/DJ Quick instrumentals from '91 to '92. Stereolab, Koushik and all those Ghost Box artists were clearly listening closely. The equally relaxed "Mermaid" glides effortlessly with soft, shimmering piano, understated percussion and kaleidoscopic synths. With these two soft-focus closing tracks allowing the LP to float away over the horizon, the preceding ten tracks have a more insistent, neck-snapping rhythm section to back the synth overload. Highlights include the head-nod funk of "Getting It Together" and the synth break in "The Executive", which informed classic video game soundtracks. For once Be With really is stuck for words to describe just how good this record is; best just to listen. Be With has worked with the hallowed KPM to re-issue ten of our favorites from across the KPM 1000 Series and the Themes International Music catalogue, currently under KPM stewardship. Whether it's killer soul-funk, sweet jazz-samba, scuzzed-up guitars or accidental Balearic beauty, these records include some of the most innovative work from some of the most talented composers and musicians of the 20th century. These records were never readily available, being originally released as a ready-made, affordable alternative to commissioning music for television and radio. Consequentially the originals have been unobtainable for decades by all but the most dedicated collectors. The audio for all ten re-issues comes from the original analog 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.