Various Artists – ‘Earthbound: Surfing The Apocalypse’
CD / MP3
Love OD Communications / Released November 15th 2010
This is one of the strangest albums to come our way in some time. It’s a compilation name-checked on a blog by a guy called Victor Ixelles. Victor is, as it happens, the character of an ebook carrying the same name as this release.
If you’re confused by that, then the knowledge it’s all tied in with multimedia art installations will probably throw more spanners in the cognitive cogs. Modern day technophobic bewilderment to one side though, it is actually a pretty decent effort, and well worthy of your time. Without further ado, here’s why.
Opener Cabito, by Bakantaar, would have you believe it was Chicken Lips, or an upbeat moment by King of Woolworths on the stereo. With rattling drums, plodding beat and pitching hook the words cartoon soundtrack spring to mind. It’s a notion that returns, with added bite, when the aptly titled Disco Computer takes control of your senses; a track filled with finger tapped keyboards, driven by a bouncing two-tone bassline that’s part old school Mario, and part retro house. That it kicks in with some seriously distorted, turn of the millennium Skint-style beats, and contains a sample introducing “30 seconds of pure white noise” is, in our opinion, great.
Elsewhere Solaris does what it should do, as Emmanuel Tegel takes us on a Bladerunner style synth dominated journey to the stars, complete with 80s inspired tom-drum rolls and spread hand claps. All very nostalgic, though somehow fresh sounding and, either way, very good. Then at the other, much more bizarre end of the spectrum, there’s Illumination’s Kool Karma, a track that, amazingly, nods to Neneh Cherry & Youssou N’Dour’s 7 Seconds. If you can believe that, you might also trust us when we say it’s got no drums, just a duet and an accoustic guitar… how’s that for closing off an album of electronic music?
Other notable mentions should go to the beautiful breakbeat trance of Mental Overdrive’s Tunglskin, a track with melodies that sound similar to Orbital, crossed with Swayzak, set to reversed cymbals and bucket-drums. And Alien’s Example #4 should have fans of Plank Records, and dark broken beats enthused, as it complies with a sound a little like DJ Krush playing in an abandoned crypt.
Overall this is a strong collection of genre-defying tracks, that takes in everything from whispy chill-out to noise, Arabesque, dubstep and electro, with no more than a few near misses. As such, it might leave a few people wondering exactly what to do with it, and it probably won’t be for everyone. But we say let those people be, because this should be grabbing heads from more than a few avid fan camps, and making them part with their hard earned cash.