Cybe – Tropisch Verlangen
STROOM 〰 The Belgian imprint with a firm fixture on the country’s burgeoning leftfield landscape, has evolved from a now defunct website hosting playlists, into a online store, NTS show, and now physical release label which has featured some of the top reissues of the year. The label’s sound and aesthetic maintains a dedication to on the fringe ethereal and avant-garde electronics. The label head, Ziggy Devriend, has dug deep to discover artists with obscure cassette and reel-to-reel recordings from across the globe.
One of these artists is Siebe Baarda (Cybe), who compiled a musical travelogue under the alias Cybe after travelling to India, Indonesia, Thailand, Bali and Java across three cassette releases in the 80’s. STROOM have compiled a series of ten wonderful handcrafted analogue electronics from those tapes, sounding like lush fields of electronic wheat swaying in voltage controlled wind.
The compilation could not have arrived at a more fitting moment, with New Age music experiencing a contemporary resurgence, finding a middle ground between the modern classical of the ’60s and ’70s, and the devotional music drawn from an array of religious practices. The record’s lore feels almost too good to be true, blending dreamy percussion into his own early electronic music. The track “Bali Pulau Bagus” features the trancelike rhythm of Indonesian gamelan accented by Blade Runner-style synths ping-ponging across the track. It’s fun, eager. The poetically named “The Moon Is Shining Above the Ricefields” begins with the recording of frogs’ ribbiting, before a wooden xylophone plinks around, and low-key smooth jazz guitar (performed by his sister) takes over.
This year we have seen many lacklustre contemporary releases, and as a result the record collectors dynamic appears to have shifted over to an extremely overwhelming number of reissues, many of which lie within in this field of music, and almost all seeming to depend on the high value Discogs market of extremely rare discs from across the globe.
While this at times has been frustrating (especially to bank accounts!), a few examples have managed to shoot their rays of light through the thick reissue fog, and I feel that STROOM〰 is set to become a mainstay alongside the reissue giants for years to come.