Black Moth Super Rainbow Start A People

[70s Gymnastics; 2004]

Rating: 3/5

Styles: lo-fi electronica
Others: Boards of Canada, Japanther

For those reading that've heard BMSR's preceding Falling Through a Field, the first major change of note is the use of a vocoder instead of the flat, disaffected singing that came before. In addition to resisting being photographed, it seems the group are compelled to cloak their vocals as well. It seems augmenting an already derivative sound with such a hackneyed device is a not the best idea.

For those not in the know, Black Moth ape early Boards of Canada (if they're not familiar with them, then they've somehow managed to miss the group altogether and it's all a weird coincidence) with live drum samples and a down and dirty lo-fi patina. That warbley bending key disorientation that BoC trade in is pushed way past the usual limit, resulting in a occasionally nauseating listening experience. I wish I could say that the group does something new and radical, but essentially, they don't. They've only succeeded in being the most obvious carbon copy of the beloved duo.

I was expecting something a little more accomplished than the last record, but as far as memorable sides go, I'd have to say that Falling Through A Field is considerably more abundant. Since the vocoder is such a limited instrument, you wish they'd opted for another vocal effect, even if it occasionally works for them. The tired, mumbled vocals on the preceding LP fit a lot better with the music. Perhaps it was one of the main things keeping them from being just a lo-fi Boards of Canada.

All that said, if you gravitate toward dingy lo-fi, and continue to thirst for BoC material, here's something that could certainly tide you over. Other publications have cited "Trees and Colors and Wizards" as a song highlight and it certainly is. It shows Black Moth at their most propulsive and least noodley. Actually, the songs that follow this track, comprise the most affecting numbers of the release. The acoustic guitar led ballad "Hazy Field People" hints at the range the group could've employed to make a more rewarding album experience. "I Am the Alphabet" is perfect detuned lounge music from the planet Gorfilmaken.

All in all, you've still got a pretty cool, weird record (if more than a tad derivative), that's got plenty to offer fans of retro-electronica and freeform pop music.

1. Raspberry Dawn
2. Vietcaterpillar
3. From the See
4. I am the Alphabet
5. Seeeds
6. I Think It's Beautiful That You Are 256 Colors Too
7. Count Backwards to Black
8. Early 70's Gymnastics
9. Snail Garden
10. Folks with Magik Toes
11. Trees and Colors and Wizards
12. I am the Alphabet
13. 1 2 3 of Me
14. Hazy Field People
15. Smile Heavy