Black Moth Super Rainbow: Start a People
|black moth super rainbow: start a people|
70s gymnastics: may 11, 2004
BLACK MOTH SUPER RAINBOW!!! The weirdest band you’ve never heard of! And they live up to their name too! Not only are they a dim black moth that flies around with all the vigor and dazzle of a butterfly (but just not quite the same), but blasts of happiness shoot from their hands! Now who can resist that? Their songs are deliberately dusty and hazy, sounding as though they'd just been picked up off the shelf after years of disuse. By no means, though, is this a collection of ambient soundscapes, or anything overly introspective and self-referential-- the songs are largely beat-driven, and the digital instrumentation provides tangible melodies while still being ethereal and relaxed. Hazy or otherwise, Start a People is a lovingly accessible electronic album, nostalgic without being archaic, wistful without being sappy.
The band's endearing premise is that of turning their childhood memories into songs. To this end (and combining with the aforementioned dust), the album's vocals are exclusively vocoderized, vocodized, vocoded, and help to create a more childlike sound without having to resort to having children sing, or anything so irritating as that. It may be a cheezy effect in and of itself, but it's used to great effect, blending in with the various other heavily digitally synthesized elements to sound resolutely right.
Several of the songs are somewhat disjointed from the otherwise flowing and natural album, and these are the ones that seem to most fulfill the band's childhood memories motif-- "From the See", for example, clocks in at just under a minute, and consists of one repeated phrase, simple and minimalistic; the song is more reminiscent of one single memory of one single moment, and the effect is pretty touching. "Folks with Magick Toes", also, is a brief snippet of something upbeat and peppy, like the soundtrack to an old video game.
"Seeeds" employs the most analog tweaking of the album-- cassette hisses and pops are constantly in the background, and the main instrumental phrase is continually warped out of key, as though the recording is on the verge of being eaten by a problematic tape deck. Somehow, something so old-hat and mundane, when put in its context, can sound so staggeringly new. Hat.
Black Moth Super Rainbow are swooping down on their multicolored arches of joy like a collision between PBS and Boards of Canada, and if you’re a fan of either one, you’re sure to enjoy Start a People. (Psst! I'll even do half the job for you: ten bucks. Get to it. Once Pitchfork gets their hands on this it'll be everywhere, maybe. You want the leg up on all the other cool kids, right?)
songs with arrows are the highlights as chosen by the reviewer. hear those first.
M83: Dead Cities, Red Seas and Lost Ghosts
Boards of Canada: Music Has the Right to Children
reviewed by andrew and noah at THE SAME GODDANG TIME
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