VCO Recordings and Andy & Zeus present the full aesthetic on Tales of Power, diving into synthesizers and extensive electronic pieces on a period-specific tape design. Full disclosure — I have a weak spot for cassettes in the 1980s-early 1990s aesthetic, complete with song and artist information on a clear cassette, and Andy & Zeus fully exploited that weak spot with their layered, pulsating sounds.
The overall concept of the tape seems straightforward — while the A-side features several shorter sketches, the B-side features one extended (17:34) wash. Electronic elements suggest a vision of progress 30 years old, a unique retrospective of what progressive synthetic music must have sounded like during unnamed, imagined past eras (kind of like The Byrds singing about how we’d travel to the moon in the 1990s — a type of boundless, spirited imagination, with untamed faith in human potential and accomplishment).
In execution, Andy & Zeus present a clear departure from their first side on “All Positions.” Their extensive ambient wash leans heavily on a series of slightly modulated, restrained elements, contrasting what sounds like a flanged guitar against droning synthetic notes. As the whole B-side unfolds, each tiny mark in the atmosphere, each changing frequency creates a grand, surprising impression. It’s quite an effective shift from the pulsating layers that expand and contract throughout the first side.
Andy & Zeus travel through circuitry that appears dated but they execute a timeless feel, a type of suspension that this could have been created anywhere.