Formed during 1975 in Melbourne by Steve Maxwell Von Braund and Geoff Green, electronic / prog / ambient duo Cybotron were the Australian connection to the likes of Tangerine Dream and Ash Ra Tempel, exploring extended ‘electronic mood ragas’ at a time when the local musical landscape was dominated by pub rock. Prior to forming Cybotron, who went on to release three albums and almost achieve breakthrough success before breaking up during the early eighties, Von Braund had already released Australia’s first fully-electronic record in the form of his solo album ‘Monster Planet‘, which gives you a good idea of where he was coming from on this album. Originally released back in 1976 on the Clear Light Of Jupiter label, this self-titled collection offers up Cybotron’s debut album, and with original copies now extremely hard to find, this remastered re-release on Dual Planet will be gratefully received by those keen to finally have a listen to this semi-legendary record. From the very outset of this album there’s a definite kinship to the Berlin School of the mid seventies, but compared to Tangerine Dream’s often neat and slightly restrained arrangements, there’s a much wilder and looser aesthetic at play here.
‘Arrakis’ opens things with a wash of buzzing arpeggios that gradually resolve themselves around a noodling modular synth melody, before clicking, slightly-of centre drum machines lock into position and a dextrous prog-rock synth solo takes centre-stage, the spiralling notes adding to the sense of wide-eyed wonder as the entire track glides off into the horizon. If the aforementioned track leans towards virtuosic prog-rock, ‘Mumbo Jumbo’ sees tumbling, glittery percussion and buzzing bass synths colliding with jazz-rock saxaphone solos, before cold wavering keyboard lines creep in at the very edges, taking things off into icy atmospheric territory. Elsewhere, ‘Parameters of Consciousness’ offers up one of this album’s more epic explorations, spending its nine minutes building up vast cathedral-like walls of icy synths as a clattering, almost march-like rhythm powers beneath against questing modulated arpeggios, the entire track building towards a machine-like surge before disappearing completely. If you’re fan of the krautrock / electronic scene populated by the likes of Harmonia, Tangerine Dream and Ash Ra Tempel, this is definitely a essential piece of the puzzle that for most listeners has been missing until now. In this case, the fantastic job on the remastering just makes this excellent reissue even better.