Analogue Detectives

Ah, the old days when we had to hunt down the music we needed. I first came across this track on Rui Neves’ Musonautas late-night radio show in the early 1980s… I was already into KS (via Mirage, Body Love 2 and X), so right away I knew it was him, but which release? And how to get it?…. Well, I recorded whatever extract was broadcast into a cheap cassette and patiently delegated to the Gods to one day make me come across the actual vinyl, hopefully at a time when I would have the disposable income.

About a year later, calling a friend from a payphone, he tips me to a couple of KS LPs in Lisbon, at a shop at Avenida de Roma. It so happened I was camping in Lisbon, so the following day I picked up Timewind and Moondawn at once… at a forbidding price, these were the days of expensive import LPs (pre-EU significant import taxes were added to cultural goods). Then the challenge was to avoid the vinyl melting in my tent before heading home!…

All this “analogue hardship” made for a hard longing for the music we wanted/needed – but it also turned us into detectives, hunting it down by all means possible. In anticipation, we even had conversations about how it might sound. The joy of holding the LP of our dreams in our hands after months or years of resilience is just impossible to imagine these days, a click or two away from anything, literally anything.

So, the track. Pure analogue warmth, the gentle birth of sequencers… Bayreuth Return is a tribute to Wagner, eerie, sinuous and melancholic. On the surface not much happens, but it is full of micro-activity. Not good ambient music, despite the appearances: I find it actually demands my full attention. Be warned: the end is abrupt and, one may say, brutal. KS went fairly kitsch some time in the late 1980s (though not as horrid as Tangerine Dream’s painful descent into a bad joke), but his early work such as this has aged very well.