Review: ZED aka Bernard Szajner – Visions Of Dune

Zed - Visions Of DuneInward, inward, inward. Sometimes the creative process is a gradual, expansive accumulation of ideas; bringing sounds into communication with eachother, mixing colours to make new ones. Reaching outward beyond the present tense, always grasping at the other. But the other perhaps wasn’t as easily obtainable in 1979 – one could not hop aboard the express of free plugins and software synthesisers, and instead the vehicles of sound were predominantly bought and held: wires, tempo-kept light pulsations, grids of faceless dials. Bernard Szajner was initially confined within the capability of a borrowed Oberheim sequencer and an Akai four-track, and thus the only direction available was inward; down the microscope tube, drifting into a single premise until its seams became visible, revealing the congealment of individual strands of inspiration and questioning, discovering the colours that exist within colours.

The wormhole is a prominent mental visual. I follow Szajner into the eternal cylinder as the surrounding synthesiser loops fold in half again and again –aligned to begin with, and then steering gently out of parallel, then back into synchronisation. There is an insatiable persistence, as though Szajner is always de-shelling his thoughts to reveal a smaller and more intricate one within. There is also a sort of absence at the centre. So much of Visions Of Dune occurs around the stereo edges, with the middle often retained as perpetual opening. I follow the light, endlessly.

Perhaps the most startling aspect of the record is its permeation into the real world. Acoustic drums often propel the dazzle onward, while the screech of rock ‘n’ roll guitar hangs like a rope at the centre. Even the electronics feel weighty and squared off like multi-coloured bricks – far from the more vague, half-hallucinated mists of other electronic pilgrims – and while there’s definitely a strong sensation of burrowing into the unknown of my own headspace, I also retain a consideration for Szajner mummified in wires and unflinching concentration, dazed by the failures and patterns of a solitary synthesiser light.