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Jean-Marc Lederman – The Bad-Tempered Synthesizer

by François Zappa

We, at El Garaje, have a list with all the pending reviews and every time that we publish one of our texts, we remove the name of the artist and update the list with new albums. But there is a name that you can always find in that list: Jean-Marc Lederman. The ex-Weathermen continues releasing a lot of interesting material, on his own or in collaborations and it’s always a pleasure to listen to them. I did not have enough time to write a few words about his The mysterious manuscript of Gabriel García Márquez, so I know that I should put some letter together about this The Bad-Tempered Synthesizer knowing that I should also write something about his new work with Emileigh Rohn. So for once, I will keep it short.

The album can be classified as one of Lederman’s instrumental synth concept works, such as The Helpless Voyage Of The Titanic ‎or Music For Dinosaurs. The record includes twelve tracks, eleven of them original and the last one a version of Bach. The album is an homage to Wendy Carlos’s The Well-Tempered Synthesizer released in 1969, where the electronic pioneer reinterpreted on synths some classics by    Scarlatti, Bach and Handel. The album, as much of the works created by Wendy Carlos can’t be found easily on streaming so I could not listen to it to compare both works. Lederman doesn’t like to do things the easy way and for this album he has put himself under the following rule: every track must be a semitone and 4 bpm less than the previous one. Quite curious, at least.

The Bad-Tempered Synthesizer is, although someone can think the opposite after reading these two paragraphs, an album really easy to listen, enjoyable and varied. The part starting with the third track to the fifth is, for me, the best moment of the album. Curiously, the seventh track “F#68 bpm,” the ninth “E 60 bpm” and the eleventh “D 52 bpm” are also fantastic songs. The cover of Bach is OK, but as a composition it can’t stand the comparison with the rest of the songs of the album.

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