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Before techno there was Deep Breakfast

Best Of Ray Lynch
Best Of Ray Lynch
By Ray Lynch

Windham Hill Records: 1998

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This review first appeared in the April 11, 1998 edition of the American Reporter.

Fhere was a time in the early to mid-'80s when synthesized music was among the most experimental and fun on the scene. It was the other half of new age, countering the acoustic movement with banks of keyboards and computers. Nearly every college radio station had a show dedicated to electronic music, which was scene as being way out there. Descended from Pink Floyd and Tangerine Dream (and, ultimately, the Beatles' "Abbey Road"), the electronic scene at its height produced artists such as Mannheim Streamroller, Jean-Michael Jarre and Lucia Hwong.

But the one album that most stands out from that crowd is "Deep Breakfast" from 1984. Ray Lynch's second album, on the tiny Music West label, actually was heard on the radio. Actually had a hit song in "Celestial Soda Pop." Actually went platinum.

Now, your old Billie Holiday and Hank Williams albums may truly sound better as they age and acquire pops and scratches, but electronica by nature is clean. Which makes Windham Hill's issuing a greatest hits by Lynch on CD welcome news for those who fell in love with "Deep Breakfast" (which is also now available on CD from Windham Hill).

The "Best Of" contains four tracks from "Deep Breakfast" plus two new songs and a handful of tracks from his other albums. Inexplicably, the "Best Of" opens with the two new songs. It's understandable that Lynch wants to let his fans know he's still active, but neither song can grab you the way his stuff from "Deep Breakfast" can.

The reason "DB" sold more than a million copies is that in "Celestial Soda Pop" Lynch found himself a classic pop song with a short, catchy melody that won't leave your head and coupled it to a simple arrangement.

The rest of the material ranges from engaging to somewhat aimless, with the other cuts from "Deep Breakfast" the best of the lot ("The Oh of Pleasure" has an especially kind of neat, philosophical karma about it). It's a good intro to Lynch for folks curious about but unfamiliar with him, and a nice way to get his old stuff in one collection for longtime fans.