Woebot – “Chunks” (Hollow Earth) LP
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.