Ben Zimmerman‘s “The Baltika Years” is a collection of recordings created between 1992 and 2002 mostly using a Tandy DeskMate computer.
When Ben solicited the Tandy tape recordings to Software in 2013, we were taken aback by how personal the music felt considering the palette used. It was like reading an abstract diary. The clues into Ben’s world (and there are many) are so stark and strange that they feel like monuments.
Reducing Zimmerman’s prolific output down to four album sides was a challenge. Much like the myth of the process-oriented painter in his prime, you get the sense that Zimmerman is subconsciously actualizing an artistic scenario that he may or may not be privy to.
When “The Baltika Years” is absorbed as a canon of work, a super-effect emerges which bonds all of his output. This is somewhat represented in the way we assembled the anthology, focusing on certain stylistic epochs that Zimmerman moved through over a decade of solitary experimenting and obsessing.
In many ways, The Baltika Years embodies the spirit of Software. It articulates a belief that idiosyncrasy is inevitable, and that human affect and technology are linked. One helps the other express something mysterious about the world.
Via limiting himself to one very specific instrument, Ben realized his own style — a monochromatic computer music that glows with the intimacy found in life’s barely audible sentiments and details.