Review: DSR Lines – Venndiagram

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(Cassette, Smeltkop, 2013)

Last time I listened to something from the Belgian label Smeltkop’s catalog, it was a downer industrial psych release Khomeini 99by Maan. This time Smeltkop is back on a lighter note with DSR Lines, a synth project by the Hare Akedod label boss David Edren. Since Hare Akedod’s output has been featured on Weed Temple a few times already, one might be already aware of how much delicious brainfood that label is providing with their sounds and with DSR Lines it’s no exception from the rule.

Because my first contact with the Smeltkop label was through the rust-covered sounds of the Maan tape, I associated their sound with “difficult listening”. I was somewhat reluctant to listen to this tape, because I was expecting (wrongly) a noisy, angular boneyard electronics. My fears turned out to be completely false when a stream of sunlit synthesizer droplets started raining on my head, pushing my mind into a pool of pulsing synaesthesia, where the relaxing ambient vibes translate into colors and shapes and form complicated patterns. This digital stream of consciousness follows the enlightened path of such synths revivalists as Le Révélateur, Panabrite or Lunar Miasma. Edren keeps his sounds tactly understated and instead of going for a full-blown Berlin school analog synth monument, he explores the scientific (and sci-fi) aesthetics with delicacy and restrain. To quote Robert Browning, “less is more”. He works with his music like a scientist with a valuable specimen, knowing that it would get damaged or destroyed if he went too far. So patience is key here.

The 32 minute tape is divided into 6 tracks, each one capturing a different little piece of the analog synth microcosmos, enveloping it into delicate sequenced melodies or vast synthesizer vistas, which sound like Klaus Schulze or Edgar Froese daydreaming while sitting at their rack. Listening to Venndiagram is like viewing electronic music under a microscope and discovering amazing patterns on something that does not look interesting or engaging when viewed from the distance. Just lend this cassette some focus (it’s not merely background music, mind you) and you will be rewarded.

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