Benge Meme Tunes Review

Album. Released September 2002.  

BBC Review

Ben D. Edwards (aka Benge) soaks up the Danish influence on this album of soft focus...

Olli Siebelt 2002

Following up on their wonderful series of limited edition 7"s and last years impressive evsc1:01 compilation, London based Expanding Records are again hitting all the right notes in terms of releasing quality electronica these days, and with this latest collection of experimental electronic composition, that trend looks certain to continue.

On this latest from label owner Benge (aka Ben D. Edwards), we see an interesting approach to songwriting not usually found in this genre. Instead of simply booting up the computer and throwing a few patches together, Edwards has instead tried something a little more complicated. He's constructed these 11 tracks around "Memetics", a concept dealing with the evolution broken down to its basic building blocks (think biological, computer or evolutionary sciences).

Although it's difficult to say technically exactly how hes integrated this philosophy into practice, the liner notes to the CD do give some clue. From what we can gather, each song here seems to have been stripped down into various sound parameters represented by simple vowels and consonants. The various combinations of letters were then assigned sounds and then arranged in particular patterns and banks and then triggered in successive, repeating yet constantly evolving steps.

Tracks like "Adam-Age Loneliness", "Urban", "Ajax Goon" and "Pica Unit" all bear astrong resemblance to the current Danish school of electronica; a country that seems to love its music organic and melodious, just as it seems Edwards does. The beats here are dubby and minimal, with warm electric piano chords and a general lo-fi ambience of well-being permeating the musical atmosphere.

It's all a little bit Future 3, a little bit Opiate, a little bit Pole and a little bit Jimi Tenor all rolled into one. In other words, Benge plays nice with the other kids. Listen closely however and you'll spot some interesting touches; a lick of playful jazz sneaking up on you in "Tame/Rude Image", or what could be a mutated kalimba rhythm right out of Africa echoing out on "Eve's Escape Valve". Benge keeps the pace snappy and casual throughout yet there's much more than meets the ear here at first listen.

For those of you who relish the softer side of experimental electronica, or especially if you're into the newer sounds coming out of Scandinavia these days, you'll find this a welcome addition to your collection. Meme Tunes ultimately is an exercise in comfort that couldn't feel more lovely, and one that gets better and better after repeated listens.

A very tasty collection of modern electronic music.

Like This? Try These:
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Ogurusu Norihide - Humour

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