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on 27 February 2012
Hi everyone,
I'm quite surprised that 4 years after its release there hasn't yet been a review of this excellent musical offering, so I'll give it a go!

Twenty Systems is an album which will very much appeal to and inspire fans of a) ambient music, b) vintage synth sounds, or even c) music producers looking for a quick history lesson in the world of synths.

The album contains 20 tracks featuring vintage synthesizers in ascending years from 1968-1987 (full track listing of synths at bottom of review page).
In nearly all cases, the album's British producer Ben 'Benge' Edwards has provided minimal composition or post-production effects, instead just letting the synthesizers speak for themselves for a couple of joyous minutes.

Now, whilst synth sounds from a bygone era might sound a tad geeky, I can assure you that most of the sounds are actually rather lovely and calming (though there are a couple of tracks where the synths sound like spooky 70s sci-fi film music instead - which is maybe no bad thing!).

I'm a fan of ambient music: I bought the album in 2008 and it is easily one of my most-listened to albums when I just want to relax, as the music takes you into a different and beautiful world.
(In addition, the CD version contains excellent liner notes which describe in good and easily-understandable detail the characteristics of the synthesizer whose track you're listening to).

And, for what its worth, the highly-respected ambient musician Brian Eno has praised the album highly, calling it 'a brilliant contribution to the archaeology of electronic music'.

In summary, if you're a fan of ambient music, old synth sounds or if you're just exploring new music to relax to, I think that you will enjoy Twenty Systems by Benge very much.

Thanks :)

Track listing:
1968 Moog Modular 3C
1969 EMS VCS3
1970 ARP 2500
1971 ARP 2600
1972 Serge Modular
1973 Roland SH2000
1974 Oberheim SEM
1975 Moog Polymoog
1976 Yamaha CS80
1977 Yamaha CS30
1978 Roland 100M
1979 Korg Lambda
1980 Korg Trident
1981 Yamaha CS70M
1982 PPG Wave
1983 Fairlight CMI
1984 Oberheim Xpander
1985 Yamaha CX5M
1986 NED Synclavier
1987 Kawai K5M
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on 4 July 2015
Interesting endeavour to capture the sounds of classic modular synths, one track per system. Could have given us a broader range of sounds of each system, but it gives an impression. The booklet gives a nice concise description of each system. Great addition to the modular / analogue synthesizer library, to complement books by Mark Vail and Mark Jenkins.
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on 9 August 2013
Benge has been very subtle in his use of the instruments by not programming them with their signature sounds.

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on 9 October 2013
Well if you have a love of synths from the classic period this should hit all the right spots and the sleevenotes are geeky too.
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