Nik Pascal: Adventures in the Electronic Wilderness
19th September 2018
Titles: Magnetic Web/Numbers/Beyond the End…Eternity/Zero Gravity
Label: Wah Wah
Dedicated, hard core Rolling Stones fans will know Nik Pascal as the guy who played percussion on the 1973 Stones LP, Goats Head Soup but even they might very well be shocked by the man’s own solo output.
Nik Pascal or Raicevik or Head or, as the guys down the pub knew him after a few beers, 107-34-8933 (it really was his alias for a while) was a man intrigued by early analogue synthesisers. He plowed his electronic furrows in the early 70s before he gave up and sold all of his kit to early ambient producer Steve Roach.
Pascal – let’s call him that for now – inserted a host of drug references into his solo work and also integrated ‘Do not listen to this album if you are stoned’ leaflets under the LP shrink wraps. They have been duplicated within these nicely mastered reissues.
Beyond the End…Eternity (1971) is stark, like an alien desert spanning a harsh planetary horizon. This is a soundtrack to a 60s Star Trek episode. A particularly dark episode at that.
Numbers? (1973) Imagine NASA wanting to scare people and put off future astronauts. It’s Tomorrow’s World and the Radiophonic Workshop with all of the buttons pressed in at once.
Magnetic Web (1973) wanders all over the place and often fives times at once with slightly discordant rhythms clashing, running parallel for a short time and then splintering off in another direction without warning. Based on primitive loops and melodic structures without much structure.
Zero Gravity (1975) offers more order, taking basic repeating beats and adding droplets of synthesised effects as grammar which are then changed in tone. Wonderfully vintage, yet I can imagine the futuristic awe generated after contemporary ears heard this one for the first time.
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