Voltage Controlled Fun, Lona Records (Locd83r)
Ohmm Omm Oomph, Lona Records (Locd84r)
Who would have thought that the rise of the machines could be so much fun? These two joyfully unhinged despatches from Hong Kong-based synth manger Timmy Lok conjure up images of the Smash Martians breaking into the Googleplex and merrily rewiring the matrix for maximum fun.
They’re released as a pair of 3” CDs, under (I think) the collective title ‘From Analogue To Digital …. Come Back And Tweak’, from Alok Leung’s fine Lona Records label in Hong Kong.
Lok himself has a venerable pedigree, having released his first album in 1989 (as part of Minimal, a HK-based electronic group), supported The Orb and worked with a host of electronic artists from around the world.
This depth of experience is put to good use on these releases. ‘Voltage Controlled Fun’ is the more conventionally structured of the two, the title track unleashing a crunching rhythm that recalls the DOSE and Mark E Smith collaboration, ‘Plug Myself In’, minus Smith’s gnarled warbles, with the rusting electronics buffed to a high sheen, fizzing and squealing all over the place in a manic overload.
Companion piece ‘Come Back and Tweak’ starts as pure acid reverie, a Zen squelch if you like, before being twisted out of all recognition, any fun morphing into claustrophobic paranoia.
Things are even more deranged on ‘Ohmm Omm Oomph’. Like the other release, the title track comes first, skittering around in a blurred merry go round of analogue synth belches and whirrs. There are no beats to nail things down as they career onwards, stuck in some kind of strange loop, on and on, faster and faster.
Fortunately, the new age drift of 禪院歌聲 (Ohmm Version) chills me out, like a wander round a Lamma Island compared to the previous track’s Kowloon intensity. There’s a Theremin hiding in the hazy gloop, and a scratchy acoustic guitar.
The CD is rounded off by a headachy mix of ‘Derivative Wontun for Buddha’, a track Lok originally served up for the Lona Records tribute to Buddha Machine album.
Great stuff anyway. Recommended if you like your electronica shiny, experimental and just a bit off its rocker.
Get them here:
I can also recommend Lona’s free 10-year anniversary celebration, ‘Tribute to Buddha Machine FM3’: