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Superficial Music

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Album Review

The third of Szajner's albums, Superficial Music partially draws upon his first, Visions of Dune; the first four songs take elements from that earlier album and rework and otherwise mutate them into choppy then serene explorations of synthetic sound. Set aside from the laser harp hype that Szajner eventually felt was an imposed burden on his work, hearing the 'superficial' pieces in this context feels freeing, something that grows out of clear roots in electronic experimentation but was clearly of its often darkened time, suddenly pulsing with aggressive, slashing energy and at others suggested darker waters that earlier, far more calm explorations by similarly inspired musicians rarely approached so intensely. The remainder of the album, a three part piece entitled "Oswiecim" — the Polish name for Auschwitz — explores the Holocaust and Szajner's own family roots in that monstrous tragedy with harrowing attention. The ghostly, darkened tones created, with only the slightest hint of a melody here and there, reaches a dark apotheosis on the conclusion of the second part, "Chant Funebre," stretching out into a cold, distant silence that the final section, "De-Termination," only slightly obviates, at once cocooning and unnerving. LTM's 2009 reissue, besides to-be-expected superior liner notes, includes two bonus tracks recorded the year after Superficial Music, "E"R Area" and "Inverted Area," both compelling extensions of the album's general sound.


Born: 27 June 1944 in Grenoble, France

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '00s

Bernard Szajner ("ZANY-ner") is a unique, Paris-based visual effects artist and musician who has created groundbreaking works in multiple disciplines while consistently striving to create and explore new relationships between light and sound. A self-described "dilettante in the true sense of the term," Szajner was born in Grenoble, France, late in the second World War, and hidden in a cave by his anxious Polish parents. Always creative, he took up painting at the age of 11, then became fascinated...
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Superficial Music, Bernard Szajner
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