Coruscation review by Carl Jenkinson

 

Back in the 80s there was a style of lively and rhythmic instrumental synth music that became known as 'Brit Synthrock'. In contrast to the more dreamy, spacey European styles it gave the EM scene a much-needed kick up the bum, but sadly, it was to fade away as most instrumental synth artists started churning out third-rate Tangerine Dream/Klaus Schulze clones rather than developing their own styles. This album from the then London-based Pete Beasley was originally released on cassette (CDs were out of the reach of most amateur musicians in those days!) in 1987, re-released on CDr during 2007 and it remains one of the best examples of 80s British synth music.

Alongside Beasley's undoubted melodic talents, what makes this album stand out is his sequencing skills, a legacy of his past playing drums in rock bands, that only the most talented musicians have ever equalled. This is particularly important on the 21 minute magnum opus York Aspiring which moves from its atmospheric, majestic opening through several rhythmic passages, each one merging seemlessly into the next with a constant flurry of thoughtful melodics keeping interest high throughout. The manner in which the pace of the latter sections changes once the rhythm line is fully built up is particularly worthy of note and testament to his skills.

As well as this, there are four shorter tracks (which made up side one of the original cassette), starting with the memorable Hunger Hill (named after a part of Nottingham, fact fans) which kicks the album off in fine fettle with a memorable dynamic and totally digital feel (the DX7 reigns supreme here!) and is followed by the improvised numbers The Swaggering and Nullified which again demonstrate his melodic skills while Gary Attwood's guitar work adds further strength to the pacey and instantly memorable Qwerty Uiop, the loose feel of which hints at more improvisation!

As a bonus there are earlier versions of three of the tracks although, for those who were around at the time, it's a shame that none of the tracks from The AMP Records Compilation Album were included (I wonder why they weren't?). Still, even now this remains a worthwhile listen and a reminder of how good Brit Synth Rock was!

Carl Jenkinson