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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Benge The View From Vega (2023)

Updated: Nov 28, 2023

An interesting album that will appeal above all to fans of analog tones

1 The View From Vega (Part I) 6:43

2 The View From Vega (Part II) 5:07

3 The View From Vega (Part III) 6:13

4 The View From Vega (Part IV) 6:53

5 The View From Vega (Part V) 5:20

6 The View From Vega (Part VI) 7:32

(CD/DDL/Vinyl 37:52) (V.F.)

(Dark vintage psybient Cosmic)

With the direction that the DiN label has been exploring more and more since Ian Boddy's Tone Science in 2016, every release of a new artist of this innovative label is a curiosity that we discover with ears wide open. And THE VIEW FROM VEGA is no exception! First of all, who is Benge? Real name Ben Edwards, this artist of tones has been exploring aspects of electronic music (EM) since the 70's. After graduating from art school in 1990, he immediately set up his own music studio, now known as Memetune Studio Complex. He immediately began composing and recording experimental Electronica, releasing his first album Electro-Orgoustic Music in 1995 on his own Expanding Records label. Since then, Benge has produced nearly 30 albums for his label, as well as collaborating with several artists on some 20 other projects. His music is always highly innovative. Avant-garde, it inspires experimental art in all its forms. Don't squint your eyes or put your fingers in your ears, THE VIEW FROM VEGA is experimental music with a more accessible approach. The album is very short, barely 38 minutes, to meet vinyl album standards. Just like the good old days! And let's talk about the good old days, since THE VIEW FROM VEGA opens a door on the 70's with a vast selection of analog synthesizers in a universe of cosmic psychedelia filled with twists, reverberations, tape delays and other electronic effects that create the album's 6 highly opaque sonic tableaux. With the exception of the quieter The View From Vega (Part IV), the album revolves around rhythmic sequences propelled by sequencers, this time analogue and digital joining their tones, in oscillatory mode. Sinusoidal frequencies vary from title to title. Some are moderate, in atmospheric mode, while others are more jerky, even hyper-syncopated.

A synth wave of misty ochre-colored draws ample astral waltz-like movements to begin The View From Vega (Part I). A sequence starts to make stampede in its wake as chords fall disinterestedly. A shadow of bass joins the disparity between sequencer and keyboard. Its enveloping layer adds to the track's atmospheric as well as rhythmic depth. Ben Edwards sets the table to whet our appetites. The sequence turns into a fiery stationary rhythm line, like a lively silver stream of tumultuous arpeggios that twirls, rises and falls in a sinusoidal race. Keyboard and piano chords tinkle with a kind of dissonance, carried away by the bass' mute outbursts. The sequence continues to meander, zigzagging between the different ambient layers of The View From Vega (Part I), at times shimmering with coldness, at others discreetly so, as the track continues to explore the contrasts of its discordance before floating gently into the opening of The View From Vega (Part II). The setting is more gloomy here, with sound effects that flirt with horror movies. The bass extends its humming radius, which is as passive as aggressive. An oscillating wave constantly hops around in this dark ambience, where strange howls of vapors seize our senses. Analog sound effects from the days of Klaus Schulze cling to our lobes as the mellotron weaves cinematic orchestrations. The track is rich in sonic texture, which at times camouflages the constant advance of the line of cadenced oscillations of which the tonality varies with the fluctuations. And here, as in The View From Vega (Part I), this rhythmic exploration through sinusoidal effects is sometimes dominant, but more often than not its ascent is masked by the multiple flange, delay and reverb effects that accentuate the sonic mass of THE VIEW FROM VEGA.

The View From Vega (Part III) comes to our ears with this river of oscillating arpeggios from The View From Vega (Part I). The mood is calmer, with a thousand silver reflections radiating from a solitary piano. It's like hearing a piano under multiple waves of sound. A pulsing bass-line hops laconically, structuring a rhythmic impulse that makes you want to tap your foot. This driving rhythm travels along the same spectrum of intensity, varying its sonic impact according to the ambient textures that are dominated here by the piano and this layer of vibrating bass. It's very musical with a touch of Berlin School, especially when the rhythm sequence accentuates the cadence towards the finale. The View From Vega (Part IV) offers a gothic ambience, with a layer of voices and synth filters sweeping the horizons. The piano also leaves these notes musing. They die in a texture that ripples like a thick veil of ether. Reverberations and delay effects linger like a shadow searching for its body in the middle of the dark night. This is dark ambient music, with ghostly voices where only the brightness of the piano notes is the beacon of our emotions. A beautiful track not to be listened to if you're feeling blue. The music ends in a burst of twisted wiisshh that contorts like a half-asleep snake. These effects spill over into The View From Vega (Part V) and its frenetic, hyper-jerky pulsating rhythm. The intonation and power is in variation, like the other structures of Benge's first opus on DiN and progresses through a storm of woosshh and wiisshh. The winds of the Cosmos awaken the hyper-jerky structure of The View From Vega (Part VI). Cadenced arpeggios leap quickly and alternately, shimmering on a line with the slow, oscillating evolutions of a huge layer of mist that casts its resonant venom. This syncopated sequence continues in the second half, which takes us into a darker mood.

THE VIEW FROM VEGA will appeal above all to fans of analog tones. Benge gently draws us into his world, before acting like a toreador and conquering our ears with convulsive rhythms. In a sonic mosaic that's like warm volcanic lava, these rhythms live on in magnetizing variations that force our ears to take notice of the incredible fauna of sounds that color these mutating ambient phases. Another fine achievement from the English label!

Sylvain Lupari (November 27th, 2023) *****

Available from DiN Music

(NB: Texts in blue are links you can click on)

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