On Sunday, looking to distract myself from goings on down-under, I acquired a copy of the ZX Spectrum Orchestra’s debut album Basic Programming. On Tuesday morning I played it whilst Eve was working on her latest Fauvist tour de force (Sunset in Kinshasa – feltpen on paper 2006). It is brilliant – as is the album.
The ZX Spectrum Orchestra played an early gig at the old Stan Space years ago and we were all blown away. It was a noise assault of a high order. Those Geek Wundermensch had managed to rip from these tiny archaic Pacman Processors something that rocked big and loud. With a joystick wielded where an axe would have swung in an analogue world we were there when it mattered, on some kind of edge, with something that was simultanously old and totally new.
Basic Programming is beautifully structured, imaginative and witty. It travels from the wonderfully danceable C5, through delicate melodies and harsher raw tracks, to the single Dollar Power, in which the machine finds its own bleak and desperate voice “Out In Space I 1 2 B = = =”. Then more sine-wave melody and more binary white-outs before the album’s second and concluding ‘vocal’ track. The Spectrum has recovered it’s spirits is throwing a party “I 1 U 2 Move D I S C O”
Whilst Stan’s Cafe smears art ideas up the wall in felt-tip like the walls won’t be there tomorrow, the Geek Wundermensch show what can be achieved if you spend four years locked in a room with a brain the size of a planet.
Click on the link, buy the album and bow down in homage.