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since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Robots and Electronic Brains

Issue 11 zine + "10P 1 Play" CD compilation

Rokit Records

Genres: electronica, experimental, pop

Jimmy R+eb
133 Green End Rd.

May 19 - 25 2003

Nice.  What we have here is an arcade-themed music zine that comes with a neat-o five-label compilation CD featuring artists on the Catchpenny, Eeriephone, Elsie & Jack, Beatsforsale, and Static Caravan labels.  Naturally, some parts of the CD are more accessible than others, but all around it's a very fun disc.

First, the zine.  Robots and Electronic Brains is a very spiffy publication, and this issue is no different.  There are well-written reviews of bands you've probably heard of (The Boggs, Eltro, Blackalicious, Boom Bip and Dose One, as well as those you probably haven't (Scramble, Moon, Foxgloves).  There are informative and fun-to-read interviews with Bouvier, The Visit, Mrs. Cakehead, and ex-Wire member Colin Newman's swim~ label (which is also co-run by Malka Spigel.)  Perhaps the biggest treat is an excerpt from the endlessly entertaining tour diary by Winterbrief (available in full at

The CD, meanwhile, is also a hit.  Starting off with three beat-ridden tracks by Beatsforsale DJ Unoriginal Mike D (two of which are collaborations with Esau), we're already in high-gear.  Things are only furthered by the Catchpenny roster; Y Camerau Cyflymder contributes catchy indie pop from their debut single, The Duckworth Lewis Method donates acid techno, and Wolf in the Fridge, DJ Komikon, and Y Crwydryn each offer up short electronic pieces.  The Eeriephone section of the comp boasts a short instrumental by the "Eeriephone House Band", followed by four catchy electro-pop anthems by The Duds, the best of which is a funky work of genius called "The Myriad Contortions of Volande Mahwengwe."

After this comes six tracks by artists on the Elsie & Jack label, who are perhaps best known for releasing Aube's classic Pages From a Book album awhile back.  FM Synthesis (aka Alex Robinson) kicks it off with a very short jazz sample, but things really get going with September Plateau's "Thinking of Storms," a stunningly moody guitar instrumental.  This mood is carried over to Pefkin's "Autumn and Glow Lamps," a beautifully minimal-yet-grand pop number, and Tabata's "The Fall of Kyoto" follows as a creepy, experimental sound sculpture.  The Elsie & Jack portion of the CD finishes off with Lighthill Vision's noisy electronics and "Carn Menyn," an ambient drone track by Stylus.

Static Caravan occupies the last fifth of this disc with a nice dose of pop and electronics.  The New Tellers give us a very British, forty second pop tune to begin Static Caravan's spotlight, which is then made even better with Magnetophone's "I Hear Blond Falcons (Edit)", a track from the sessions of their sold out Relax It's the End of Electronica single - it's a moody slab of electro characterized by jabbing, abrasive beats.  Hard Sleeper then takes a decidedly more relaxing approach with his plugged-in electro-lounge piece, "Rightleft," and The Vector Lovers continue the mood with a warm track of dazzling techno called "Neon Sky Rain."  Things finish off with Tomcats In Tokyo's "Tubular Friends," an IDM-injected slice of masterful techno that recalls a more spaced-out version of videogame music.

All around, this is a delicious zine and compilation CD bundle.  If you've got a bit of cash to spare, plop it in an envelope and mail it out to get your very own copy of Robots and Electronic Brains.  Yum yum!


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 40 pp; 29 songs, distributed by the zine, published 2003]