New Electronic Releases On Vinyl

The vinyl LP is back.

And – along with the renaissance of the indie music store, LP’s returning to booksellers and Technics introducing a new version of its SL-1200 turntable – has come a firehose of new and reissued electronic music releases on vinyl.

Tangerine Dream‘s Thief soundtrack is considered by many to be one of their finest. It features the group’s Franke, Froese, Schmoelling lineup at their peak, along with a track by composer Craig Safan.

Director Michael Mann has a talent for pairing stylized visuals with music, and Thief masterfully sets a noirish crime thriller to Tangerine Dream’s driving electronic score.

By the time Tangerine Dream scored Thief, they had moved away from the more improvisational space rock of their 70’s peak and were embracing the use of drum machines and more conventional song structures. Their use of highly percussive ‘ratcheted’ synth sequences, along with the prominence of Froese’s electric guitar, give the tracks a propulsive energy that help make the score a standout among their many soundtracks. And Diamond Diary – with its ebb and flow of electronic rhythms and metal power chords – is one of the highlights of their career.

Tangerine Dream’s Thief soundtrack was originally released in the vinyl era – and it sounds great on vinyl. A recent Audio Fidelity reissue (Amazon) doesn’t feature any extras, but is a classy 180 g virgin vinyl pressing. Our copy is completely free of surface noise and it has become our preferred media for listening to this classic soundtrack.

Horse Head Bookends is the latest full-length record from Gel-Sol (Andrew Reichel).

It’s a gorgeous physical release – 140 gram vinyl, plus 5 inserts of custom printed 12″x12″ artwork, by Gel- Sol, to illustrate the individual tracks. The record jacket is die-cut, so any of the psychedelic collages can display through the frame.

The LP’s illustrations and design recall the heyday of vinyl releases, when the best LPs were truly physical counterparts to the music.

The music of Horse Head Bookends is hard to categorize, because, like the collage illustrations, the music freely combines elements of many genres. It layers the improvisational feel of classic space rock with plunderphonic-style sampling and funky dub grooves.

Reichel’s label describes the release as ‘Paracosmic’. It’s an apt description, because, with Horse Head Bookends, Gel-Sol creates a complete, detailed imaginary cosmic world.

Horse Head Bookends is available via Bandcamp. You can preview it below:

Space, Energy & Light is a triple-LP retrospective, featuring music of early electronic and synthesizer pioneers, with tracks spanning the years 1961-1988.

The compilation is an exploration of the range of music being made by electronic musicians who used electronics to create new types of music and soundscapes, beyond the boundaries of the mainstream. And it shows that there is a lot of interesting territory for listeners to explore, ranging from the space rock and Berlin School style sounds of artists like Tim Blake and Michael Garrison to the proto new age music of Iasos and Stephen Halpern to the more experimental work of Laurie Spiegel and Tod Dockstader.

The tracks are thematically tied by the idea that these artists were inspired by the era of early space exploration to create music that explored themes of space and futurism, and that also looked inward, to reflect our world’s small, but unique place in the universe.

Space, Energy & Light is an introduction to a wide range of pioneering artists that also manages to be a satisfying and coherent listen. It’s available via Amazon and other online retailers.

Waveshaper Media in 2017 released a 50th anniversary edition of Morton Subotnick‘s Silver Apples Of The Moon.

Silver Apples Of The Moon, originally released in 1967, is an important album for many reasons. It was Subotnick’s debut album; it was a showcase for the Buchla 100 modular synth and the possibilities of synthesis; and it was the first piece of electronic music commissioned for release as an album.

The album has been difficult to find for years, and for its 50th anniversary, Waveshaper Media has given it the modern vinyl release it deserves.

With the new edition, Tony Martin’s psychedelic liquid-light cover art was re-scanned, and it now wraps around the entire gatefold jacket. The inside features vintage photos of the composer at work, along with a new essay by Subotnick. He tells the story of the creation of the album, and shares his perspective on it from 50 years on. The inner sleeve reproduces the original back cover of the album.

The album has been remastered for the new release, and is available pressed in orange, red or black vinyl.

With Silver Apples Of The Moon, Morton Subotnick defined a new type of chamber music. He anticipated a future where composers created music in their studios, using synthesizers and other electronic devices, for people to listen to in their homes.

By the mid-70s, Subotnick’s vision of a new type of electronic chamber music was already becoming commonplace. Musicians like Klaus Schulze, Brian Eno and Jean-Michel Jarre were sharing their own takes on electronic studio music. But Subotnick’s music – which defies expectation for scales, rhythm and tonality – still manages to sound resolutely of the future.

Silver Apples Of The Moon is available directly via Waveshaper Media.

The newest release in our record stack is Obédiences Électronique, a double-album by Geneva-based synthesist and producer Boodaman (Stéphane Cavi) .

With Obédiences Électronique (Electronic Persuasions), Boodaman set out ‘to create an electronic music album, as done in the 70s and 80s, but with modern vision and taste’.

He took inspiration from the early work of artists like Kraftwerk, Jean-Michel Jarre and Tangerine Dream. He followed their example of creating albums with concepts that tied together the music and artwork and using a hardware-centric workflow, but with the beats, arpeggios and melodic sensibilities of modern dance music.

The gorgeous cover art is by Hannes Pasqualini of Papernoise, who also handles the design of Mutable Instruments‘ modules and site.

The tracks are all instrumentals, in progressive house territory. Boodaman uses an array of vintage synthesizers and analog gear to build the tracks, using the computer mainly for recording. As a result, the tracks sound less ‘surgical’ than some electronic music, and more like a live performance. And, while the album is full of inventive synthesis, it’s tightly structured and built on a foundation of beats and synth riffs.

He is joined by thereminist Therminal C on the track Christical Mass.

Obédiences Électronique offers the same sort of complete futuristic vision that classic electronic music albums offered, but from today’s perspective.

Obédiences Électroniques is available via Bandcamp. You can preview it below:

17 thoughts on “New Electronic Releases On Vinyl

  1. Technics reissues the SL-1200 turntable shortly after Shure discontinues their phono cartridges and stylii.

    I hope Shure reconsiders their decision. Vinyl deserves a better fate than it got.

    Nowadays I buy much of the music I really love on vinyl. CD offers me no real advantages over downloading/streaming. Can you even buy CDs any more?

  2. The real question isn’t how you buy your music, i.e.format, it’s actually how you listen to it,

    Vinyl demands I listen to it in the most limited of situations, most often a static environment, with too many physical limitations and conditions. My first Walkman allowed me to take my music anywhere I could go. Years later, as a landscape photographer hiking across bumfuck everywhere in all weather conditions my mobile devices allow for auditory/visual experiences vinyl will NEVER ever give me. Just doing everyday life stuff, the ability to listen to my music on devices that are for the most part extremely mobile, super convenient and pretty damn affordable is priceless and adds to the quality of my life. But, TBF, maybe if I was unemployed living in my parents basement or I was 14 again i’d have the time and luxury it would take to sit and listen to my imagined awesome vinyl collection, My real CD collection is well over a 1000. They have become an archive, stuff I rip samples from, and just a physical collection of songs that I always end up putting on my much appreciated mobile devices. JMO’s.

    1. That’s what so great about the state of music these days – you can have it both ways.

      You can put it on your phone and listen to it wherever you like or you can listen to it on a great system and hear it in all its glory.

      I’d hate to turn my favorite music into Muzak, though. There’s still something magical about putting on a record or CD and really listening it.

    2. While your entitled to your o’s, your quest to make your apple overlords the end of all creativity is getting rather over played. Jobs didn’t even do that. Find enjoyment.

    1. Do you know if it’s going to have any extras?

      Supposedly TD composed the soundtrack as long pieces of music, and then the director picked a few bits and pieces to use in the film. And that’s why Sorcerer is so choppy, with everything fading out after two minutes .

      I’d love to hear what they originally did.

  3. Also worth checking out Pure Destructive Records, who I found through Synthtopia and has had some very cool scifi/horror synth OST releases. They’re not great about meeting their release dates, but they have eventually delivered on everything I preordered.

  4. I once owned a mass of LPs too. Now its all on CDs, HDs and flash drives. I loved the low-order distortion and compression that gave the vinyl copies their character. Problem is, no matter how careful you are, the vinyl will pick up dirt, skin flakes and little oops places where someone put a sticky finger on the disc. Add to that more serious scuffs & scratches and that glory starts to fade. I prefer my music free of pops, clicks and sudden skips, thanks. I also like digital because its cool to hear a fly cough in the back of a jazz club. Organic!

    1. Well the nice thing is you can purchase the vinyl to support the artist and still receive high quality digital too. That is what I prefer, but it’s great to listen to the vinyl on special occasions.

      Anther shout out to Gel-Sol and it’s label (Verses Records) for investing in that project. Much love was put into that record, I think it’s excellent.

  5. Far more interesting: ‘Tangerine Dream IN SEARCH OF HADES’ – 16 CD and 2 Blu Ray boxset coming spring 2019. SEVEN unreleased CDs plus some 5.1 remixes by Steven Wilson (Phaedra, Ricochet and an unreleased 1974 studio album) + large format book. Covers 1973-1979.

    1. In other words, they’re milking the fans with outtakes and remixes. All the remixes that they’ve done over the last 20 years have been utter garbage.

      I’d much rather see them focusing on new music – which they’re doing a pretty nice job on – and respecting the band’s legacy. Vinyl releases, like the Thief and Sorcerer releases, are a good way of keeping the music available as it was originally intended.

    2. Love early Tangerine Dream, but wouldn’t say more interesting than music referenced above. Give these bands a solid listen if you haven’t, they are seriously talented and deserve some recognition IMO.

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