A companion to the album he and Hans-Joachim Roedelius recorded together, released as Selective Studies Volume One in 2013, 1D takes sketches and solo parts that Lloyd Cole created as part of the process, but that were ultimately unused for the record as a duo. Composed entirely using a modular synthesizer, and instrument that Cole was learning to use as he went along, the eleven tracks here sound satisfyingly complete, even given the knowledge that much of the music was intended for Roedelius’ parts to be overdubbed later.Glassy chirps and tinkling sequences are largely the order of the day, Cole tweaking and adjusting the generative music, often more in the fashion of an arranger than a composer, as is so often the case with music made using modular synths. A complete absence of other instrumentation makes for a purely electronic record, one that sounds fresh and is delivered with a lightness of touch, perhaps thanks to Cole’s background in more poppy musical areas. Nevertheless, he frequently lets glitchy trails, stop-start rhythms and sequences flicker brightly, in the fashion of a self-generating music box on the cheery “Pertronics”, in the liquid ripples of “Strands” or among the recursive drones of the almost ecstatic skyward reach of the opening and ripening filters found on “The Bund”, while the beatific melodies of “Slight Orchestra” lift up the mood, almost weightlessly so. One of 1D‘s endearing qualities is that each instrumental flows into the next and across the stereo spectrum with conviction, gaps between tracks only occasionally obvious amidst the natural-seeming progression of the album. It’s often an intriguing listen, and Roedelius’ absence can sometime almost be felt, not as if his music has been removed – and he was not even meant to be involved with some pieces – but that his spirit and the method and motion of Cluster can be inferred as an inspiration as much as an anticipated contribution.
Lloyd Cole could hardly have done a better job if these were fully-realised pieces (and in effect, they now have become thus and so). While it would perhaps be fascinating to hear those that had or were intended for Roedelius’ contribution in their different forms, 1D works extremely well as a fully rounded record as it stands.