Bureau B’s mission to ensure that one in every two CDs in the world feature Hans-Joachim Roedelius continues with the most unlikely collaboration of his career to date. Lloyd Cole is best known, in the UK at least, as the man who took a slickly polished dilution of ’80s indie-pop into the proper charts with hits like “Perfect Skin” and, err… I don’t seem to remember any of the others. It appears that he also released an electronic instrumental album in 2001, inspired by Cluster‘s Sowiesoso, which Roedelius heard and liked. It was another ten years before the two met in Vienna and decided to collaborate on an album by sending files back and forth to each other. Here is the result of that collaboration… or maybe only part of it, if the Vol 1 is anything to go byBoth artists have avoided their primary instruments – guitar for Cole and piano for Roedelius – in favour of purely electronic sounds. The results are surprisingly satisfying and suggest that Cole has a true understanding and love of the genre – more so, it would appear than the area he made his name in. It’s impossible to know which bits were contributed by which party, of course, and naturally the album is closer to Roedelius’ past work than Cole’s, but the fact that Selected Studies Vol 1 can stand proud in Roedelius’s huge discography is huge testament to Cole’s hitherto unacknowledged avant-credentials.
The press release says that “Cole and Roedelius seek to present fantastic aural topographies in opposition to the dullness of the real world, inviting us to enter a friendly labyrinth of constant surprise, a place one can still leave at any time, without fear of getting hopelessly lost.” The fact that I’m back here to write this review proves just how successfully their aim was achieved.