I read somewhere recently that this ’ere universe that we all inhabit shouldn’t actually exist, as the apparently proven theory that each particle of matter co-exists with a corresponding particle of anti matter, is kyboshed by the posit that the energy thus produced by said co-existence would produce a MAHOOSIVE explosion, thus reducing everything to nothing. It’s a wibbly-wobbly conundrum of the kind that can only be explained by the existence of such arcana as Black Box Recordings, run by a guy who goes by the name of Craig Manga, in Doncaster, of all places. There but for an unprovable physics theorem go us all, or summat.
Mr Manga is a sort of post-radio age John Peel, whose insatiable appetite for the new has resulted in pages of releases on the label’s Bandcamp page. The most recent of which – although by the time this is published there have probably been at least another seven issuing from the overworked loins of Donny’s finest – is this strange creature. The album is the culmination of Craig’s invitation to a select band of fringe musicians to compose some music over his electronic version of the famous motorik rhythm, in what is known as the “chiptune” style, a rather pointless musical cul-de-sac based around vintage computer game soundtracks, which were crap then and sound no better now.
That all sounds somewhat esoteric, and frankly, awful, but luckily the musicians involved follow their own twisted paths to arrive at what is inevitably a somewhat varied journey through at times headache-inducing computerised soundscapes. The first track features the very fine Jumble Hole Clough, making a good fist of Peter Gunn trapped in a Space Invaders machine. JHC is why I was drawn to this in the first instance, as I must admit I do not understand the current love of chiptune amongst the younger cutting edge folk, but I’m an ancient buzzard, so what do I know?
The second track is called Boiled Cabbage, an understated sequencer trip, for a brief moment accompanied by sex moans. Given the remit, it is surprising how few of these tracks sound like amateur hour Kraftwerk with added beats, and there is enough here to keep my interest if not priapic, at least in a semi sort of state. Highlights are JHC, and gIRL, the latter being Aphex Twin in a spin cycle over wonky synth chords. Route 88 is the Kraftwerk thing, but after Ralf und Florian have been force-fed a pint of absinthe. Very odd indeed!
Probably the only musician you might have heard of here is How Far To Hitchin, whose Potassium Dalek Addiction is two-and-a-half minutes of deliberately amateur sounding plinky-plonky. At least it doesn’t sound like Krafwerk.
The review on Bandcamp makes me laugh. He spells “Kosmische” with a “c” (lower case’n’all), and implies that Faust have no sense of humour! J’ai mal au dents! Methinks he hasn’t been paying attention. By now I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you thought I was making this whole thang up, which I must admit is something I’ve been tempted to do, just to see if anyone other than fellow scribes read this nonsense. But hey! It’s not April 1st, is it? Anyway, if you have a spare half hour, give this a listen. A bonus point for every track you listen to all the way through.
01. A Stroll Around Barry Scrapyard (2:27)
02. Boiled Cabbage (4:28)
03. Moe Tuckerik (5:04)
04. Motorikon (5:02)
05. Eleventh (6:11)
06. Stress Rehearsal (3:08)
07. Unintense (2:09)
08. Ego Bombazi (5:40)
09. Route 88 (2:03)
10. Potassium Dalek Addiction (2:33)
11. Mango Tango (4:00)
12. Bad Racer (5:05)
13. Kraut Musk Republican (2:55)
Total Time – 50:45
As listed within Bandcamp link:
– Jumble Hole Clough
– Ian Haygreen
– Menopausal Hound Dog
– Belial Pelegrim
– Bedtime for Robots
– Uncles of Wise
– Frankie Machina
– How Far to Hitchin
– Asleep With Headphones
– Station Zero
Record Label: Black Box Recordings
Country of Origin: U.K.
Date of Release: 19th January 2021