Synthetic Biology - Rubber Band Banjo Album Review

Rubber Band Banjo - Image:
Rubber Band Banjo
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Album Review

This fifth album from the south-paw state Seattle (Hendrix, Cobain) sci-fi soundtrack composer, instrument maker, multi-instrumentalist and biology techgeek Rubber Band Banjo is maybe not as of-the-moment as he may believe. Amongst the countless boxes stashed in my dust-and-dead-spider filled archive are a handful by 1970s bedroom synth noodler Bo Hanssen.

Sure, his tracks were named after the escapades of Tolkeinesque gnomes and hobbits, as distinct from RBB's space-age titles but the frantic, uplifting keyboards anthems have much in common and in contrast - analogue / digital, woodland / laboratory, fable / cable - elvish has left the building and so, from the darker side of another moon that's not even on Earth's radar, the title track, a Quatermass experiment of pulsing Spectrum ZX bleeping Ipcress Files mutates to compulsive genetically-modified test-tube-inseminated free-form ersatz-sax post-punk funk.

If Jean-Michel Jarre found himself with empty Oxygene tanks, his narcosis symptoms as his lights fade are "Chase Scene Through DNA Wormholes" (mai oui, for the avoidance of doubt, that's wormholes not Warhols), a heavy-density panoramic thumper that has me pining for what would be one incredible movie. "Circuit Bender", 30 fathoms bathymetry, low visibility death cry of seabed offshore windfarm power cables as an exclusion-zone busting 90-ton delta flipper anchor drags through them - lacerating, globby, throbby, burn-the-chequebook expensive, electric-filled water: c'mon guys, the significant wave height is only 5 metres, get the bloody ROV launched and let's weep at the damage.

The introspheric samba from cranium space that shagged Bowie's mind on "All The Madmen" is here in "Self-Assembling Virus Spaceship", disturbingly cosy-familiar and 4 a.m. wake-up-in-a-sweat screaming your head off shit-scary. In another dimension, Pete Best's 1962 Kaiserkeller atomic beat shape-shifts to a sense-baffling Marrakesh snake-charming shamanic trash-dance drone, giving squelchy birth to "Human Engineered Pathogen". Fellow travellers, here on the bridge of the star-ship Re-Enterprise, the star log says "It's cyber, genre-defying, playfully groovy shit... but not as we know it - ye canna change the laws o' Rubber Band Banjo."

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