Necessary reissue of Ian Elms’ sole side of wiry ’82 minimal wave and lo-fi Berlin skool kosmische, recalling John Bender’s DIY-spirited early templates and getting under the skin like From Nursery to Misery, yet with an isolationist eeriness of its own
“Ian Elms’s cult isolationist synth masterpiece Good Night returns via Dark Entries. Originally released in 1982, Good Night blends Berlin school minimalism and BBC Radiophonic weirdness with the aesthetics of then-nascent DIY punk electronics throughout its fifteen short tracks. According to Elms, these pieces were composed in two broad but interrelated modes: pieces with voice and synthesizer, which are obliquely narrative, and instrumental synthesizer pieces that aspire to capture fleeting emotions. Ian met with producer David Hoser at Octopus Studios and they began constructing pieces using a Polymoog Keyboard 280a, sampled drum tracks, and Elms’s synthesizer.
On “The Street Enters the House”, live drums lurch along with skeletal motifs while Elms’s elliptical lyrics evoke domestic discontent. “A Light Moves Across Curtains” features metronomic pummeling and icy strings buttressing the scant cryptic lines from Elms. Instrumental gems like “Goodnight” and “Surrounded by Trees” are built around detuned riffs in round-like structure, both drifting and static like the motion of waves. With original pressings fetching three digits – if you can even find a copy – this reissue is essential listening for fans of John Bender, Transparent Illusion, and the early 80’s DIY cassette scene. Each copy of Good Night comes with a postcard featuring a photograph and notes by Elms. “This record is intended for anyone who by accident or design spends most of their time alone (whether in the body or in the mind).” – Ian Elms.”