Frank Benkho’s A Trip to the Space [Between] assaults your ears

20th May 2016

Title: A Trip to the Space [Between]

Label: Clang

You can tell that Benkho was excited to produce and release this album because he forgot to include the spaces between the words in titles such as EscapeToPlanetMars and DeepLoveBeneathEarth. Then again, maybe this is the space mentioned in the album’s title? If so, it’s a hell of a squeeze. It’s also a hell of an assault because, right from the off, Benkho comes at you with no mercy. You are going to experience this and, my god, you are going to experience it big. Discordant rhythms, industrial melodies that start nowhere and go nowhere and are nowhere, high pitched tones that verge of the distortive, bubbling synth runs that drip in reverb and slow motion re-runs, ambient foundations of an analogue variety, chaotic arrangements. And that’s just the first track.

Once Benkho has your attention and he’s sure that you’ve woken up, he hits you again. This time, however, there’s a distinctly krautrock bass synth rhythm here that Tangerine Dream fans will, no doubt, raise an eyebrow to. This is a marvellously retro piece that scream the 70s at you and wallows in it like a hippo in mud. Slowly developing with spatial sounds that build and evolve then twist and morph into new and flying structures, it si s true contrast from the first track as it dwells and explores a single theme, seeing where it goes and musing upon its own possibilities.

The third track, Jogging on Venus, begins with electric discharges caked with reverb and develops in a mechanical nature from there but also sounds like music that you might find in an adventurous art installation. There’s a lot going on here. Lots of knob twiddling, lots of tonal swishing and swooshing that sounds almost cleansing in its soil approach.

And so it goes, each track providing a new chapter for the mid to dwell upon. It’s intellectually ambient at its core and krautrock in its personality with modern electronica that underscores its ambition. Formidable stuff.