Rodion G.A.: The Lost Tapes (Strut)

A genuine rarity and oddity, The Lost Tapes uncovers a musical microcosm most of us never even knew existed.

Rodion Rosca was a Romanian producer and musician, working in Romania's dark days of Communist authoritarian oppression in the 1970s and '80s. The Lost Tapes collects 10 unreleased tracks that he and a couple of fellow travelers recorded during that time, and drops them on an unsuspecting world.

Mixing up a dark, complex web of sound using early synths, guitars, a drum machine and several reel-to-reel tape decks, Rodion G.A. references both early synth music and prog rock, with a sound that's unique and bracing. The most immediate impression was how much this music rocks; a few of these tracks are some of the most aggressive synth-based music of the time, working way ahead of the curve on the dark ambient and dark dance genres that flourished in the '90s and '00s.

So, imagine the lush, all-encompassing Euro synth music of Vangelis, Edgar Froese or Eberhardt Schroeder, married to the hard-edged, roiling prog rock of Can or Hawkwind, and you approach Rodion G.A. Starting with the interstellar, deep-space probing of "Alpha Centauri," then moving into the early Brian Eno-esque vamps "Cantec Fulger," it's obvious from the get-go that we are indeed in for a trip.

For anyone interested in global musical arcana, vintage synth music and a peek into unbridled creativity behind the Iron Curtain, The Lost Tapes is a revelation.

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