Ten brief and impressionistic tracks on a 10" EP, Letters Written is Martin Bates' first solo album under his own name. (Two Throbbing Gristle-inspired industrial cassettes were self-released in 1979 and 1980 under the apt name the Migraine Inducers.) Only slightly more musically spare than early Eyeless in Gaza records, there's really nothing on Letters Written that would sound out of place on Pale Hands I Loved So Well or Caught in Flux. As always, Bates' mannered voice and idiosyncratic phrasing are the take-it-or-leave-it aspects, and the very simple keyboard-only settings leave his vocals right out front throughout. Based on droning synthesizer lines and slowly-moving melodies, the songs are largely interchangeable, with only the interesting stop-start patterns of "Morning Singing," the Philip Glass-like pulsing underscoring the hypnotic "After-taste of Old," and the genuine delicacy of the crystalline "Overflowing Look" mixing things up. A little more of that kind of sonic variety -- he could have at least adjusted the synthesizer's settings between songs, so that they didn't all sound quite so much alike -- would have been a huge improvement, but, overall, Letters Written is just brief enough to keep from becoming dull. Eyeless in Gaza fans will enjoy it; others may be unimpressed. Bates has subtitled both 1994's Mystery Seas and 2001's Dance of Hours as sequels to Letters Written.