This duo features two of Europe’s finest keyboardists: Dutch-born vant Hof and Germany’s Kuhn. This modern jazz-fusion journey recalls the soundtrack work of Vangelis or even the Krautrock of Neu! or Can; much of the material here is synthesizer-based, with occasional flourishes of acoustic piano. At the time of its 1982 release, Balloons was at the sonic cutting edge; now it sounds dated, and some points are a bit meandering. Nonetheless, there's some successful experimentation: highlights include the snarling electric guitar–like shredding and melodic synthesizers of the title cut, as well as the low-end Afro-synth groove of “Bandundu.” The lengthy “Sushi” finds the two duking it out on acoustic pianos for a swirling piece that's more focused on texture than any sort of narrative soloing. Now available digitally for the first time complete with a new mastering job, this album from MPS is at the outer reaches of the label’s jazz-heavy canon.

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