Das Ding – Missing Tapes (Minimal Wave, March 2016)

These are apparently the last drops from the succulent Das Ding archive and they come on gorgeous pale yellow wax. Missing Tapes is a fine companion piece to H.S.T.A., Minimal Wave’s 2009 retrospective of the Dutch maverick’s early 1980s work, and compiles archival material that Mr Danny Bosten described as ‘leftovers’ when I interviewed him recently. Well, there’s no accounting for modesty. The only thing missing here is the reason why they were missing for so long: these are important efforts from one of the great artisans of home-made synth.

While tracks such as “Sad but True” and “Raid” will already be familiar to fans, others are truly newly-found slices of Das Ding pleasure, that also manage to reveal a slightly lighter, less brutal Bosten. “Somewhere” is a classic dance track steered by an irreverent use of a drum machine and textural caesuras marked by underfoot crunches and breaking glass. “IC Anything” sees Bosten candidly displaying an irresistible Italo vein, whilst “Try Out” expertly moves between bleak nocturama and playful machinic synth progressions.

As always, the best thing about Das Ding’s music is the dichotomy between the driving sensation and the feeling it could break apart at any moment. This is music that centrifugally self-destructs by way of the same force that pushes it forwards and keeps it together. The record closes on the forlorn “16”, a darling thing, a weeping baby theremin with a folk song pushing through it. As I was writing this column, it played it out as I played the Konstruktivists’ “Francis Bacon” in, and a shiver went right through me. Just a suggestion.

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