Category Archives: Rene Hell

Best of 2011, part II: Resurrection of the Synthesist

Given our name, it’s no secret that we gorge on electronic sound, be it discomforting or transcendent.  Guttural or sublime.

We’re forever wary of confirmation bias but this year does seem to have seen wave upon wave of synth based music.  Not just music that features a synth but music that’s built around the synth, great cathedrals constructed to encapsulate the idea of making synthetic sounds that by their design are alien and other.  Except, they’re not anymore.  Thirty years of indoctrination has made the music of the synths mean something else.  A piece of retro nostalgia at one moment, something transgressive the next.  Often extremely beautiful in that airbrushed way that was once cliche but now — as the world folds in on its credit default swapped self –seems aspirational; utopian.

So this then, is our loosely assembled collection of synth focussed tracks which, like a good Bela Tarr movie, create a world and give us time to think within its borders.


Jonas Reinhardt: Eos, the Dawn In 2011, Jonas Reinhardt returned to these warm zones: constantly maintained by solar winds and the unfathomably complex gravitational dance moves of the planets.

Speeding through the heavens of blue refracted light that bounce freely off of vast glassed worlds, before slowing to take in the cresting of a sun over its many orbiting bodies.  Eos, the Dawn holds itself in a perfect moment before the god of arpegiated synth pulses rises from her slumber to usher in a new day.  Below a strange planet populated by sentient piers springs into life, their symbiotic Wurlitzers emerging out of the wooden decks like budding flowers to pipe a salute to the new day.

Jonas Reinhardt – Eos, the Dawn

Buy: Music for the Tactile Dome


Gatto Fritto: S/T Beachy Head is a beautiful suicide spot in the Sussex coast not far away from Brighton. It is the place depicted in the front cover of Throbbing Gristle’s 20jazzfunkgreats, and soundtracked in a most foreboding manner in the selfsame record. It also seems to be a place that Gatto Fritto, one of the most accomplished sages of the neo-Kosmische diaspora has given some thought to. His Beachy Head is a wonderful quantum waltz that stares not at the maelstrom swirling below, but at a night sky above, where subtle shifts in the luminosity of the constellations reveal a soothing message of galactic rebirth.

Gatto Fritto: Beachy Head

Buy: S/T.


Eric Enocksson: Apan Ramble through the hazy palace of your past, and into a cellar of gentle ruins where you collect memories of those pets that grew up with you, and grew old and frail and one day, died.  Bask in the portentous sadness of a wordless farewell, sweetened by the remembrance of the joy that was, and your ability to love, which is also the root of all your tears.  Now picture a dynasty of galactic shepherds whose flock is of planets and constellations, and of the races that thrived and decayed and perished therein, their affection and ache as great as yours, but stretched over aeons of blackness, interrupted by a blinding light, once in a while, once in a while.

Across which echoes a song like this.

Erik Enocksson – IV

Buy: Apan.


Borden/Ferraro/Godin/Halo/Lopatin: FRKWYS Vol. 7 One of the many strands that compose our love of music made with synthesisers is its ability to describe nature in a medium that is completely abstracted from.  As the sounds become more sythesised the creator’s intent is more nakedly revealed and in this instance, the feeling of drifting into night — which let’s face it is pretty fucking abstract — is conjured from the minds of the song’s participants.  Droning waves of synths layer each other like laser coloured veils until more excited flourishes tweet their arrival like thousands of birds of pure light arising for the gloom.

Borden, Ferraro, Godin, Halo & Lopatin – Twilight Pacific

Buy: FRKWYS Vol. 7


Harald Grosskopf: Synthesist (Reissue) Picture the collection of delicate vibrations through which sound is transported across air as a nascent civilisation of golden-skinned homunculi toiling in barren lands, developing in a super-compressed evolutionary process a theory of the mind and language. If the stars are our destination, then we must be theirs, for they populate our sensory system with awe-inspiring structures that will thrive long after a supernova of silence has obliterated the system whence they arrived. Harald Grosskopf is the Deus-ex-Machina behind this beautiful infiltration, the all-knowing watchmaker that set this process in movement. He is their God, I wouldn’t be surprised if he became ours too.

Harald Grosskopf- Synthesist

Buy: Synthesist


Food Pyramid: Food Pyramid III Food Pyramid don’t (need to) mention anything eluding to German 60s/early 70s music in their email to us, but as with the Boredoms, Juan Atkins, Holy Fuck, Death in Vegas, Fuck Buttons, The Time and Space Machine, Deerhunter, Gavin Russom, Oneida, Lindstrom or P.I.L. – reading between the lines gives us great delight.

Food Pyramid – E-Harmony

Buy: Food Pyramid III.


S.C.U.M.: Again into Eyes When teenagers making epic industrial goth by way of southend on sea make a first album on Mute records team up with the combined production talents of Ken and Jolyon Thomas you might expect something interesting. Again into Eyes goes beyond anything you’d expect as a first album, beyond the combined age and wisdom of all involved. If this is their first offering, then personally we cannot wait for more.

S.C.U.M – Whitechapel

Buy : Again into Eyes


Rene Hell: The Terminal Symphony Rene Hell gives us large hadron collider tickets to an abstract universe where Andrei Tarkovski directed Tron, and Terry Riley teamed up with Aphex Twin to make the soundtrack. BLAM.

Rene Hell – Lighthouse Marvel

Buy: The Terminal Symphony.


Moon Gangs: S/T Moon Gangs  plug a whole array of synthetic apparatus into the output devices of our planetary sensory system, thus generating a tape, the latest episode in an invisible collection of factual documentaries through which generation after generation of stargazing weirdoes (Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Terry Riley, Ligeti, Lindström, OPN, etc.) have attempted to reveal a truth that can’t be spoken.

Moon Gangs – Sea

Buy: S/T (sold out soz)


IFEEL Studio: Morgengruss III IFEEL Studio stretches fingers of gold into the core of the galaxy, and the deepest recesses of the human heart to grasp the mysteries of love, and scatter them into the wind. From these seeds grows a mighty tree under whose shadow we rest in a furious summer afternoon, eating cheese and bread like humble and satisfied shepherds, humming a melody of beauty and peace.

IFEEL Studio – Watching Stars Over The Rubicon Beltway

Buy: Morgengruss III


Zombi: Escape Velocity Escape Velocity is a new instantiation of our manifesto: numinous motorik disco for emergent new era cults, party music for the post-singularity hivemind, the blueprint of an interstellar motorway where a suicidal priesthood accelerates its sexy silver machines towards the ultimate event horizon.

Zombi – DE3

Buy: Escape Velocity.


Mist: House Mist’s House is a collection of prophesies about the day-to-day of our poly-mathematic future, and a tribute to the pioneering work of the Kosmische school that first calibrated its main parameters, and anticipated its sentiment.

In it, the fundamental relations in the science of harmony are expressed mechanically by marshalled regiments of numbers marching with irresistible power

Mist – Twin Lanes

Buy: House


Deep Earth: House of Mighty Deep Earth lash out with the pent-up energy of a zillion Zenta laser panthers as they lunge forward, not to snap your neck with mighty fangs of antediluvian vintage, but to carry you dangling from their mouth into exotic lands of strife and illumination like a psychedelic version of He-Man’s Battle Cat, dreamed up in some German progressive commune circa 1976.

Deep Earth – House of Mighty II

Buy: House of Mighty


Thug Entrancer: Case  Mounting a late surge into this list Thug Entrancer’s email popped into our swamp-like inbox linking us to Volume 1 and 2 of Tropics Mind.  Pulling in Carpenter synth workouts, Juke influences and more ambient meanderings they’re nothing if not superbly ambitions explorations of synth driven dance music.

Whereas initially they volumes seem arbitrary, volume 1 soon reveals itself as a finely honed, low key Juke inspired, bubbling gem.  With only Spiritual Growth losing the frantic rhythm of its peers, opting instead for a spot on the Carpenter/Goblin axis of tension/terror.  Volume 2 seems more focused on the aforementioned Carpenter/Goblin/(slowed)-Italo synth driven genre…we still haven’t got a suitable name for.  [We suck at genres]  From which Case comes.

Thug Entrancer – Case

Buy: Tropics Mind


Throbbing Gristle: all of it (re-mastered reissues) All of them.  On vinyl.  Get them now.  Even if they’re not really ‘synth’ albums — in the same way that David Lynch isn’t really a pop star.


Architecture of Utopia

Featuring : Beaumont + Rene Hell

(“A New Divinity” above by Kris Kuksi via 5magazine)

20jazzfunkgreats use many divergent techniques to write their drafts and select their music. These include Brian Eno’s renowned Oblique Strategies, esoteric derivations of the Fibonacci sequence and energetic hurling of Aleister Crowley’s tarot deck. Today, we have applied standard cabbalistic transformations to excerpts from a contested appendix of the Torah describing the Seven Heavens. The output is a Dewey System sequence identifying an obscure volume at the British Library. It is called ‘Babel’s Children: An Anthology of Hubristic Urbanism’, and its author is Professor Magnus Taylor at the University of Manchester.

In Babel’s Childen, Prof. Taylor describes a collection of stillborn architectural and urbanism projects that, very frankly, put Herr Fitzcarraldo to shame in their otherworldly ambition and misalignment between techne, and oikos. The chapter on the predictably named ‘Utopia’ is one of the tastiest. In what follows, we summarise and abridge Prof. Taylor’s dense prose.

Roberto Jose Van Reenen, one of the most accomplished disciples of Oscar Niemeyer, took on the project to build Utopia in 1970. Van Reenen, a founding member of the Latin American Diaspora of the Bauhaus school that some refer to as ‘dichotomous sensualism’, had already shown his architectural chops during the construction of Brasilia, followed by the legendary (and sadly collapsed now) Nueva Fénix tourist exclusive resorts in the Florida coast.

Utopia was to rise in the wild jungles around the sources of the river Amazon, between Ecuador and Colombia. It integrated the visions underpinning Van Reenen’s two previous flagship projects – Brasilia’s, which sought to act as a metaphor for the birth of a new super-power able to subdue nature, and Nueva Fénix’ which saw beautifully designed structures smoothing the ugly angles of an unhinged plutocracy.

This is because Utopia was to be a site of power (but not the legal power of a state, or even the commercial power of a mega-corporation) and of pleasure (but not the kind of seemingly expensive but ultimately cheap – because it can be bought – pleasure of your run-of-the-mill luxury outlet).

No, Utopia was meant to be the capital of a secret power, and a theatre for the pleasures on which that secret power indulges. Not being a political economist, a leftfield accountancy maverick or a conspiracy theorist, Prof. Taylor glosses over the sources of finance for the Utopia project, the nature of its inception and its governance structure. Several playboy visionaries from famous robber-baronish/Euro-monarchy busting lineages are nevertheless mentioned, up-and-coming entrepreneurs from the nascent drug-trading routes too. The odd secret society whose name emerges and submerges over the centuries. Mystical powerbrokers. The kind of people whose sole mention would get this website off the Internet for the years to come (Prof Tayor disappeared soon after the publication of Babel’s Children, natch).

The mind boggles at the ambition of a design that not even these mighty powers could realise.

White towers rising in the midst of the millennial greenery, interconnected by hanging bridges of titanium alloy, and topped by mega-sculptures of mythical Hellenic champions disguising heliports in their flat surfaces, launching pads in the vertical ones. A pyramid cultic like Aztec leftovers, but updated by a prize-winning industrial designer and plugged into an underground power station for unclear purposes. An artificial lake stretching as far as the eye can see, linking into the Pacific by a complex web of channels, sucking in its salty water to support a maritime ecosystem choreographed by mercenary biologists, too many sharks for comfort. A beach of pure white and a marina brimming with clubs, theatres, temples and more.  Quarters for the inhabitants, if not the masters, of the city, selected following a tortuous processes to participate in Utopia’s soviet/market economy.  A place built to be the greatest, and grow from there.

Very little is left of Utopia’s working site, and even less is known of why it never did rise. Prof. Taylor assumes that the shady patrons of the project changed their mind, perhaps shifts in the tide of a war secret like their very own power made the investment’s return slip below zero, or it dawned upon them that Utopia wouldn’t be finished in time for the cosmic festival that it was meant to celebrate.

We wonder. We would ask Roberto Jose Van Reenen, but he never came back from that jungle.

What we can do is imagine its Elysian bustle, the music that would have echoed across its lavish boulevards, and from the penthouses of its hierophantic skyscrapers, a soundtrack for the effort and outcome of not reaching towards heaven, but bringing it down from the sky and here, to this jungle, a place worthy of Gods you don’t want to meet.

(The quotes below have been taken from Utopia’s promotional leaflet).

The Temple

“The chessboard floor of the Temple’s choir is appointed with a battalion of Jacquard looms operated by a department of pineal gland enhanced MIT math expats, who toil behind their machines in silence to make string theory practice. Segments of brocade are assembled into complex representations of quantum events whose truth reveals itself in music.”

Rene Hell – Lighthouse Marvel

Matt Hendon from the very much-admired Resident record store, and Where to Now, did advice us to check out Rene Hell’sThe Terminal Symphony’. He could as well have given us large hadron collider tickets to an abstract universe where Andrei Tarkovski directed Tron, and Terry Riley teamed up with Aphex Twin to make the soundtrack. BLAM.

The Marina

“Impeccably attired spectators sit at the white terraces stretching over the amalgam of ink and bone which is Utopia’s simulacrum of a seafront, gazing at tonight’s spectacle: fireworks explode in the tropical night sky, each strobe imprints upon the subconscious of the audience beguiling snapshots of the Master Illusionist erotic fantasies.

Beaumont – Midnight

Beaumont’s forthcoming Blush Response EP is the climax of a codeine hallucination spent in the elegant bars and lurid back-alleys of a bustling port, the vanishing point is romance lush and melancholy like the ambient distillation of a Jamie Principle classic, the path there sensuously curved, and full of sleazy detours, the vessel connecting the dots of this neon framework a cherry red Porsche Carrera, what else?