A masterpiece returns. The last five years have seen the reemergence of a towering figure of electronic music. Through multiple boxed set releases, and a dedicated Bandcamp page releasing unheard works at an unfaltering pace, the work of pioneering cybernetic composer Roland Kayn has reached a wider audience than ever before. Now, a bedrock work in establishing this reputation is available once more, as Tektra, his overarching landmark work of the early 1980s, is finally restored to availability after decades out of print.
Reissued by Reiger Records Reeks – the composer’s own label, now presided over by his daughter Ilse – Tektra here unfolds across 5 CDs. The new edition was mastered by Jim O’Rourke from a transfer of the original tapes present in the Lydia and Roland Kayn Archive. It implements Kayn’s directions on crossfades and edits as fully as possible, while also reincorporating almost 5 minutes of music previously unavailable in digital format.
Kayn’s glacial, otherworldly electronic landscapes have always been somewhat at odds with the world of contemporary composition his background and training located him within. His rejection of compositional dogma and traditional musical structures eventually led him to discover a source of endless inspiration in the cybernetic generation of material, and the curatorial act of listening itself. Perhaps this is why Kayn’s recognition is only approaching its zenith today: his work is far from the passive, unobtrusive world of “ambient”, but its embrace of extended duration, drone-like textures, and the exploration of space as timbre are undeniable shared attributes. Today’s most forward-looking musical practitioners – many of whom cite Kayn as a direct influence – have perhaps discovered a similar territory, at the threshold point where mindblowing complexity approaches the overwhelming sensation of true immersion.