The good news is that “Six BC” is a superb album, one of the best to bear the Bruce Cohen name in quite some time in fact, with the visionary musician utilizing combining a Yamaha Reface YC Organ with a Reface CS Synth, “to see how far he could push the two keyboards into one big spacious ethereal sound”. This was his initial grounding towards crafting a series of 10 tracks around them that find a strong balance between atmospheric longer reaches, electronic explorations and more melodious compact pieces – plus a touch of dance music. So boxed in purists and snobs, approach this with caution. For all the other expanding creative minds…enjoy!
There’s a constant distinctly current sound, with endless respectful nods to the vintage exploratory heritage of Cohen’s previous works through every bit of the album. It all makes for a superb slice of intelligent modern electronica, and even the rarer straight-forward spots, are far weightier and more subtle than many of the tracks that have shown up on numerous electronic recordings currently doing the rounds.
As the title “Six BC” presumes, Bruce Cohen started out the series, with “One BC” in 2009, eventually reaching “Five BC” in 2018. The opener “Under The Nova” holds a series of experimental and ambient fragments a world away from commercial appeal or easier melodicism. It’s essentially an arrangement that coasts between freeform serene electronic drifts, and an urgent churning beat, making for a confident statement from Cohen, straight off the cuff.
Each re-listen reveals a secret exciting layer and a complex flow under the louder keyboard flourishes, on the mysteriously intriguing, “A Single Step”. Inspired by Miles Davis, “Rated Are” offers clacking percussive momentum and a searing theme whilst dipping into bombastic sonic excursions. Cohen then spoil fans with the beautiful and deeply immersive epic, “Prelude for Oodako”.
“Mr. Harrison” is a homage to Bruce Cohen’s favorite Beatle, It’s a bouncy and sparkly piece, sprouting delicate Eastern nuances. “Dance Of Mogera” is the closest Cohen comes to a slinking EDM beat, except it holds a more reflective elegance than his club orientated counterparts could wish, or are allowed, to produce.
The buzzing ambient music of “Sunrise Over The Moon” is all crystalline ringing expanses, and fizzing implosions, culminating in an uplifting refrain. Overloaded with feverish percussive runs, Cohen’s keys take center stage alongside the driving rhythm on “Moove”, constantly soaring majestically over electronic pulsing, and a dramatic imposing beat.
“Which is Which” is another ambient digression, with Cohen challenging the listener to determine which is the organ, and which is the synth. “Fooled Who”, is a tribute to The Who, another of Cohen’s all-time favorite bands. This is an astoundingly busy piece of music, especially percussively. There’s this incredible collision of rhythm and sound, which only builds upon Bruce Cohen’s musical mystique.
“Six BC” is evocative and smart electronica from a talented artist who constantly calls to mind moments from many electronic eras. It showcases one of those rare instances when a musician continues to be incredibly creative and forward-thinking, even eleven years down the line from his first solo album release.