HARDHOUND

Benge – Twenty Systems

Author: Colin | Published: 6/12/08

Benge

Benge

Benge

Benge

Benge

Artist: Benge
Title: 20 Systems
Label: Expanding Records
Year: 2008
Designer: Paul Merritt, photography by Paul Edwards and Ben Edwards, layout by Daniel Edwards
Type of music: Electronic
Notes: Benge’s Twenty Systems is an example of good rather than great design. My (small) reservations are that the instrument photography is rather pedestrian and I wonder why the artist’s name is placed at the crease on the front? However, I do love the amount of information it presents, the manner in which it is presented and the concept behind it.

Each of the twenty tracks is named for the synthesizer that it was played on. The CD is placed at the back of the jewel case-sized hardback book in which there are introductions by Scanner and Benge as well as pages and images for each track and a small gallery of close-up photographs. The whole thing is information-rich and satisfyingly focused in a way that’s infinitely more pleasurable than scrabbling around on the web for relevant information. And the music is an other-worldly delight.

Thanks to Cargo for the review copy.


Comments

  1. i thought this might appear on here soon! The concept’s superb, but i can’t agree it’s an “other-worldly delight” – too much of this album seems like a wasted opportunity, a collection of meandering minimalism. Shame, really, although it does have its moments, “1972 Serge Modular” for instance. But too much of this release fails to address whether Benge is intending this as a ‘reference’ of sorts, an historical document, or a contribution to contemporary electronic music. The result, in my opinion, fails to be either.

    Comment by Simon — December 6, 2008 @ 11:56 am
  2. Is it just me or is that barcode a subtle piece of genius on the back?

    Comment by Mike — December 6, 2008 @ 2:06 pm
  3. Heh, I usually publish posts on a Sunday morning, but put the date in wrong on WordPress – now I know you guys are on the RSS feed!
    Simon, I’ll have to strenuously disagree. I don’t find the music meandering at all, but instead cleave to my original observation with increased vigour! Thanks for clarifying some of the possible objectives of the project, I think he achieves all three rather wonderfully and with delightful pathos. Each piece is like a soundtrack to a machine rather than a film. I welcome the relative lack of melody and the concomitant favouring of atmosphere and abstraction. Design-wise I’m even wondering whether I now find the utilitarian photography entirely appropriate to the whole endeavour.
    Mike, hm maybe you’re right though I’d never have noticed if you hadn’t pointed it out – care to elaborate?

    Comment by colin — December 6, 2008 @ 6:13 pm
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