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“This album started as a daydream about watching a crazy, beautiful rock band play an ultra-gig.
At first, a giant fluorescent image of a coat hanger appeared at the back of the stage. A couple of seconds later a full size replica of the Camden Falcon backroom materialised around the glowing coat hanger. Upon the stage was a group composed of five musicians. They seemed to be of differing ages, some young, some old. I noticed that the drummer was an Eskimo. They played instruments either of their own design or conventional ones that were modified such that they could be used to generate a range of sounds not typically associated with a rock band. For instance, one of the musicians appeared to be using a device attached to the body of his classical guitar that allowed him to accelerate or decelerate time in his immediate vicinity. At a certain point he seemed to quickly reverse back to a couple of months ago. My suspicions were corroborated by his hair and beard temporarily looking rather shorter. Sonically, this had the effect of extruding certain melodic phrases into shimmering monoliths and slow emotion wave fronts. Other sounds being generated near to him on stage also got partially sucked into the time sponge and were returned at high speed as imploded sonic pin cushions.
The coat hanger started glowing emerald green. At the same time, a river emerged on the stage and appeared to be running under the drum kit. I was concerned for the safety of the musicians being as it was that they were powering their other-worldly equipment with electricity. Just as I began to venture a comment, the members of the band that weren’t kayaking were enveloped in a localised electrical storm. As the electricity arced around various nodal points such as the drummer’s left hand, the guitarist’s teeth and a Venus fly trap that was sitting just behind the bass amp, I noticed to my relief that they weren’t being incinerated by this high voltage extravaganza. No, but it did seem to have the effect of generating a bass -distortion that sounded as if the bass guitar was actually a RSJ being played with a chainsaw, enclosed in a ventilated cabinet of fine mahogany. In fact, the high voltage was smash-mapping the bass line to a lightning wave and then amplifying it millions of times over. The bassist was now using the entire building as a speaker.
My vision at this stage was hence somewhat blurred, but I am sure I saw all of the drums in the drummer’s kit rapidly exchanging places with one another. The snare drum would occasionally rocket to the ceiling and hover there for minutes at a time, oscillating at rates factorially related to the tempo. Thus it started to act as a receiver for electromagnetic radiation emitted by nearby neutron stars. The strange lonely songs of astral bodies echoed about the room as their electromagnetic radiation was demodulated by the UHF calf skin. Then it exploded, showering the band in pieces of plywood.
It was at this stage that my attention was switched to the electric guitar player. Splinters of detonated snare drum were striking the strings of his guitar such that his right hand was free to operate a cupboard full of granite spheres illuminated in a dull orange. As he did, his person rapidly fragmented into various historical stages of mankind. For example, there was a Cro-Magnon man and a Homo Erectus playing Monopoly. The Cro-Magnon appeared to be winning. Suddenly the Cro-Magnon was in a headlock. Suddenly everyone in the room was incredibly happy. Riffs of medieval joy bloomed about the small man as he struggled to fight back tears of elation. They were happy because they were real. They were smoking because they were real. The coat hanger winked out, they thanked me and left forthwith leaving no trace save a small dent where a pantechnicon lorry had smashed through the back wall of the stage to deliver a replacement snare drum.
What to do after an experience of that order? As the room around me regained its familiar shape, I was left with an urgent sense of responsibility that I do honour to this vision of a remarkable ensemble. My memory of it was the only souvenir, and I feared its vulnerability with only a skull to protect it. I ventured forth to the studio shortly after the New Year. I emerged on July 15th. This is the result. I hope you enjoy it. ” Tom J, Squarepusher
Posted by Rich Kim