It’s hard to truly evaluate the importance of John Bender’s contributions to the history of minimal wave and synth music. For some reason his prolific output from 1978 through 1980 has been mostly neglected outside of a small group of avid record collectors and musicians.Yet his records—and in particular, I Don’t Remember Now—are so prodigious that they have recently become seminal orientation points for exploring what would later be remembered as the first wave of bedroom DIY electronics.
Fortunately, San Francisco’s Superior Viaduct imprint has given everyone a chance to delve back into Bender’s complex sound world—one of sorrow and isolation but also disarming beauty—with a gorgeous reissue of I Don’t Remember Now / I Don’t Want To Talk About It. With awesome lines like “long distance runner in a human race/of loneliness” and a super broken cover of Faust’s “It’s A Rainy Day (Sunshine Girl)”, there’s plenty of interesting listening to be had.
For a full fix of minimal synth music check out a mixtape of female-fronted minimal bands, this mega-mix and a chat between two of the finest diggers of minimal music, Helena Hauff and Veronica Vasicka.