Tip! * 100 copies on white vinyl* It’s hard to imagine the serene tones of ambient and new age finding any common ground with the wild antagonisms of Fluxus and experimental music, but this is exactly the rare conjunction illuminated by Dead Minds’ latest LP, a reissue of Enno Velthuys’ astounding 1984 album Glimpse of Light. Originally issued as a cassette on Exart - the label founded by Hessel Veldman and Nick Nicole that brought us those seminal Y Create releases - it carries some of the most exciting sounds to have been brought to light from the '80s Dutch underground, and is just about as essential as they come.
Enno Velthuys, who sadly passed away in 2009, is a sinfully overlooked figure in the history of ambient music. Initially a member of the Dutch 1960s psychedelic scene, he fell prey to the metal scars of heavy drug use and spent the majority of his years as a recluse, living with his mother while producing astounding bedroom music that almost no one ever heard. Had he not been discovered by the seminal Fluxus artist, Willem de Ridder, in 1980 - which led to the first release of his work - it’s likely that the story would have ended there.
Across the 1980s, Velthuys produced seven cassettes for a number of tiny, artist run labels. Glimpse of Light is the second of these, and arguably his most beloved and sought after. It belongs to a body of work which encountered the artists weaving other-dimensional, music from atmospheric melodies created on synthesizer, backed with sparse percussion, easily understood with hindsight as self-generated means for sonic healing for the psychologically scarred Velthuys.
While deeply resonating with the forms of Ambient and New Age music that were emerging during the same moment - partially highlighted by Velthuys’ inclusion on Light in the Attic’s celebrated (The Microcosm) Visionary Music of Continental Europe, 1970-1986 - Glimpse of Light stands slightly separate from the pack. Filled with immersive long tones, shimmering melodies, and an expansive presence of ambience and space, its 12 compositions are deeply introverted and melancholic, moving across the two sides at a glacial pace, as though all the hope and light that they possess are weighted by the shadows of the past.
Creatively brilliant and stripped down to the raw essentials of sound, Velthuys’ Glimpse of Light represents a rare bridge between the New Age and ambient movements, and the DIY / bedroom practices of Punk, Industrial, and art music. It’s a crucial missing link, one of the greatest unheard albums of the entire genre and one of the most beautiful records anyone is likely to encounter all year. Dead Minds’ first ever vinyl reissue of this masterstroke has been fully remastered using the original tapes from the Exart vaults, and is limited to 400 copies, with 100 on white vinyl, reproducing the album’s original cover art. Impossible to recommend enough, we can’t express how happy we are to have this in our hands.