ARTIST: Atarimatt vs. Great Unwashed Luminaries
ALBUM: I Was a Teenage Metalhead
LABEL: SinkHole Texas, Inc.
REVIEWER: Matthew J.
Two producers of hardcore retro-style electronics team up on this delightful little EP, offering two new tracks and a remix each. Atarimatt, as is only befitting for an artist with such a moniker, plays music using vintage videogame equipment, and he manages to wring a surprising amount of complexity out of devices long considered obsolete. "The Electric Monsters" is deliberately primitive with its tinnily snapping beat and crunchy bleeps, but it communicates as real a sense of jangled nerves as you'd get playing into the high levels on your favorite '80s-era arcade game when you're down to your last quarter. The wonderfully titled "Space Squid Shakedown" is even more impressive, starting off with low-fi breakbeats and videogame noises but slowly building into a multi-layered arrangement of distorted melodies that feels like nothing so much as a Richard D. James or Mike Paradinas composition re-imagined through decades-old technology. Great Unwashed Masses' work is less purely rooted to early arcade game sounds, but he nonetheless takes an old-school approach; "Body Rocking" has an old-school electro flair, with the title phrase repeated through primitive vocoder effects, while "Silence Sea and Sky" is mellower, a quasi-ambient composition delivered over a hissing analog drum pattern for an effect that's almost soothing. Finishing things off are two remixes of the previously unreleased Atarimatt track, "Commuter." Both versions feature samples from cult sci-fi flick Logan's Run, but where Atarimatt's "Logan 5 Remix" is techno gone 8-bit, Great Unwashed Masses again takes a more ambient approach, with slow industrial beats reverberating beneath brooding synthesizer pads. While the two producers' styles do differ to a certain degree, their sensibilities are similar enough to make this a cohesive if all-too-brief release sure to be appreciated by fans of experimental electronic music's more playful side, especially those who remember the heyday of games like Centipede and Asteroids.
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