A Produce – The Clearing
Maiden outing from the All Night Flight inhouse label is an expectedly odd and beguiling beast. The work of the late Californian, Barry Craig, The Clearing was reportedly his attempt to document what he considered to be an emerging 'trance' scene. What that means exactly is anyone's guess, but I can faithfully say Darude this is not. The songs on which there are vocals recalls the more histrionic aspects of minimal wave and find kinship with their European brethren on Frequent Frenzy, Survival, even Mute. While I'm never one to turn my nose up at a little synthpop theatre, it's on the instrumental pieces that The Clearing reveals its true value. Being based in California in the late 80s would make Craig a contemporary of Marnie Weber and John J. Lafia (the latter recorded for Craig's label, Trance Port), and the music certainly speaks of a shared vision. Plaintive, moody and, at times, down right austere electronic excursions that suggest that the West Coast in the 80s and Germany in the 70s weren't really that far apart. You could even go as far to understand this relationship as symbiotic - you can hear traces of what Kompakt would later gleam into sleek, tasteful minimalism. Filing this neatly alongside the Marnie, Lafia, and Operating Theatre reissues this year, and tipping my hat to All Night Flight in the process.
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