Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Music - Part 98 - Grandmaster Gareth

Grandmaster Gareth – Magical Sound Shower (GM Sounds)
24 June 2013

Grandmaster Gareth was once described by John Peel as ‘the new God’ and, if Peel’s statement is true, then this is certainly the album for the pop atheist.  There’s a hint of Grandmaster Flash and White Lines to I Am Garzuvius, indeed there so many sounds on this album it’s easy to see why it was seven years in the making.  Gareth, (or should we call him The Grandmaster?), takes influence from pulp sci-fi books and B-movies, amongst other things, and the result is an incredible trip through a musical Technicolor landscape.

An apple crunches, birds sing, children cry.

This album is fun, fun, fun, but, well constructed intelligent pop too.  It doesn’t drag on forever and ever, it gives short, sharp, sound bursts which is sometimes enough to keep a listener enthralled, and, that’s certainly what Magical Sound Shower does.  It’s well-timed and well executed.  It’s brilliantly done and borders on genius. 

There are different moods and different textures.  The Hoarder Of Moments is low key and subtle, and is followed by ten seconds of madness in the shape of Magical Cuts which is basically instruments made to sound out of tune.  There’s a childrens TV programme in a Blue Peter vain which provides sound bytes of what sounds like jelly making on Don’t Grumble Under Pressure sounding almost pornographic with the innuendo voiceover ‘wobbles’.  A Stephen Hawking styled voice says the words of the album title to close the track.

There are space age doom sound effects throughout with musical imagery of space-age comics.  Possible clips from Sega and Nintendo arcade games of the 80s bind together the Mario influenced The Bigger The Bass Line/The Bigger The Waistline over a crunching drum beat.

A dog barks and Stephen Hawking returns to tell us not to buy this album.

Track after track of weird and wonderful sounds, and, beautifully put together bits of music bouncing, crashing and making you think.  Absolutely glorious.  This is probably where all those great BBC Sound Effects albums were heading, the ones that as a teenager I played in their entirely like a conventional album.  Yeah, call me a weirdo for adding excerpts of them into my taped Top 40 compilations!

A machete being brandished.

Great percussion on the brash, in your face, The Nobelisk, which has distortion galore and certainly isn’t as poppy as its predecessors.  There’s even a viola chucked in somewhere and some great post dub effects which rival last years album from label mate D.E.A.D.    Slowly whirring and trickling along is Watch Your Step complete with childrens voice and a Sesame Street parody.  If there’s a downfall to the album, it’s that you really need to listen to it as a whole rather than individual tracks, it’s a project if you will, an epic extravaganza that deserves to be appreciated in its entirety. 

Cue voices of the Minions from the Despicable Me movie?

Freestyle jazz with frenetic percussion on I Eat Dogs, Why Not People? and CBeebies from grown-ups on The Dewormer.  Don’t be fooled, it’s not a twee album, it’s done in an incredibly original way. 

A scream, Big Ben chimes and a merry-go-round.

Angelic Church voices and a cartoon factory production line.

The title track tips a wink in the direction of Red River Rock by Johnny & The Hurricanes or early OMD before an untitled and unaccredited twentieth track (yes, count them!) merely exclaims “Did You Wobble?”.

You really should own this album.



Published on Louder Than War 24/06/13 - here

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