Posts filed under ‘hauntology’
Chunks is the new album by Bubblegum Cage III’s favourite sampledelic hauntologist – the mighty Woebot aka Matthew Ingram. It’s also Woebot’s first album to appear on vinyl, which would make it a considerable cause for celebration even if it wasn’t up to his usual high standards.
In fact, Chunks not only clears the bar set by the ‘Bot’s previous releases, it vaults high into the cosmos, circles the moon a couple of times and comes crashing back down to earth with a resounding clang and stardust on its cheeks. Basically, it’s great.
This here blog has already given you a couple of previews from Chunks, via the videos for “Argos” and “Roger”. These are very much the album’s hits, being more hook-laden, hypnotic and percussive than anything Woebot has attempted previously. While the rest of the tracks are more in line with the fastidious sample collage of his earlier releases, these hits form the album’s conceptual core. On “Argos”, in particular, it’s easy to hear Matt working through some of the concerns he expressed when this here blog talked with him last June – the need to keep things visceral, the trade off between structure and repetition…
Certainly, this is a pretty visceral record by Woebot’s standards. Seventies rock riffs are much in evidence, as are rave-style sped-up vocals and deep sub-bass detonations. Also, whereas previous Woebot releases have been built entirely in the digital realm, analogue synthesizers make a few un-showy appearances on Chunks.
What really makes this album, though, is the attention to sonic detail. Matt seems to spend endless care and attention recording, editing and arranging samples, maintaining the highest possible levels of audio clarity and musical logic throughout the entire process. Once the finished tracks are cut to vinyl, the results are nothing short of gloriously vivid.
There’s a beguiling circularity at work here – the samples are sourced from Matt’s voluminous record collection before being guided through the digital night and back out onto vinyl, where they belong. And Chunks itself is definitely a record that belongs in your collection. Go buy it from Boomkat.
The new Woebot album (Chunks) is phenomenal. There will be a full review of that when time permits. For now, enjoy the video for “Roger”, the album’s opening track.
Strongly suggests that the new (vinyl!) LP is going to be bonkers good. Is he “sampling” the iTunes visualizer here? Cheeky bugger.
It always seemed incongruous that Ghost Box – a label which pretty-much defined the retro-futuristic genre known as hauntology - only made its releases available in digital formats. This apparent chink in the imprint’s otherwise robust aesthetic armour probably resulted from any number of practical and financial considerations. Until recently, Ghost Box didn’t seem to have much of an audience beyond a hardcore of intellectual music bloggers and ageing ravers – so, going to the trouble and expense of pressing vinyl records probably seemed downright foolhardy.
But with the recent hype surrounding hauntology’s autistic American cousin – hypnagogic pop – it has started to seem like Ghost Box’s time might have come. Certainly, people beyond hauntology’s core audience finally seem to be catching onto the genre’s damaged utopianism. And so, we finally get the label’s first ever vinyl release – a revised edition of its sixth CD release.
Like most Ghost Box releases, Mind How You Go was/is a collection of melodic instrumental electronica, primarily influenced by the library music and public information films of 1970s Britain. It contains elements of both Belbury Poly’s jaunty synth stylings and The Focus Group’s sample-based experimentalism – indeed both of these core Ghost Box acts contribute remixes to the Revised Edition. The main distinguishing feature here is a stronger-than-usual tinge of krautrock, with Neu! and Kraftwerk influences clearly audible.
Those who have come to love the Ghost Box sound and shtick will definitely cherish this release, particularly as it contains what may be the label’s high-point to date – Belbury Poly’s total renaissance fair re-imagining of “And the Cuckoo Comes”. In any case, a must have for Ghost Box-loving vinyl snobs. You can buy it directly from the label.