Alan Hawkshaw and Brian BennettSynthesisLP

Be With Records
BEWITH046LP
Released 16th of November 2018
 £ 20   £ 16.67 

The “vivid contemporary sounds for a fresh visual image” make up the now canonised Synthesis from Alan Hawkshaw and Brian Bennett. These two greats go deeper than usual on this collection, and the end result is a synth concept record of sorts. Released in 1974, it’s an essential companion piece to their Synthesizer and Percussion LP, released on Themes International Music in the same year.

Like most of our favourite library records, Synthesis has that gloriously funky, “weird electronic music” vibe without ever being inaccessible. With the awesome ARP Odyssey at the fore, Hawkshaw and Bennett have created a blissed-out soundscape that, whilst laid back in all the right places, somehow remains heavy on the funk. It’s a sort of throbbing, proto-G Funk sound and you can find it on many of these low-lit basement workouts.

Take the ice-cool “Alto Glide”. It’s a sunset-funk highlight with an electro-flute refrain that conjures those dreamier Dre / DJ Quick instrumentals from ’91 to ’92. Stereolab, Koushik (again) and all those Ghost Box artists were clearly listening very closely in the years since. The equally relaxed “Mermaid” glides effortlessly with soft, shimmering piano, understated percussion and kaleidoscopic synths. It’s a really beautiful piece.

With these two soft-focus closing tracks allowing the LP to float away over the horizon, the preceding ten tracks have a more insistent, neck-snapping rhythm section to back the synth overload. Highlights include the head-nod funk of “Getting It Together” and the synth break in “The Executive”, which informed classic video game soundtracks.

For once Be With really is stuck for words to describe just how good this record is. Best just to listen.

As with all ten re-issues, the audio for Synthesis comes from the original analogue tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. We’ve taken the same care with the sleeves, handing the reproduction duties over to Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity.

And don’t worry! Those KPM stickers aren’t stuck directly on the sleeves!

Release Notes

Be With has worked with the hallowed KPM to re-issue ten of our favourites from across the KPM 1000 Series and the Themes International Music catalogue, currently under KPM stewardship.

Whether it’s killer soul-funk, sweet jazz-samba, skuzzed-up guitars or accidental Balearic beauty, these records include some of the most innovative work from some of the most talented composers and musicians of the 20th century.

These records were never readily available, being originally released as a ready-made, affordable alternative to commissioning music for television and radio. Consequentially the originals have been unobtainable for decades by all but the most dedicated collectors.

The audio for all ten re-issues comes from the original analogue tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. We’ve taken the same care with the sleeves, handing the reproduction duties over to Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity. And don’t worry! Those KPM stickers aren’t stuck directly on the sleeves!

But we didn’t just get a bit giddy and find ourselves re-issuing classic work from Alan Parker, Alan Hawkshaw, Brian Bennett, Nick Ingman, James Clarke, Francis Coppieters, Keith Mansfield, David Snell and John Fiddy. In the middle of the project KPM also asked Be With to be responsible for the vinyl version of Full Circle, an entire LP of new material from Alan Hawkshaw and Brian Bennett. Who were we to refuse.

So that makes eleven records in total, all released on the 16th of November, and available for pre-order ordering now.