Saturday, 23 June 2012

The 2kDozen 500: #236 - Siinai, "Olympic Games"

There's an alternative reality where bands like Siinai get to write the themes to important moments of national density and destiny like the Olympics, instead of creatures like Gary Barlow. We get glimpses at these universes through cultural wormholes like Match of the Day or Football Focus, where indie-archs rule with cool iron fists and invite The Fall and Y Niwl to shape the understanding of Goal of the Month. Or we find artefacts like this, which I did buy at King Kong Records in Ljouwert yesterday.

It was in a shelf labelled "Neo-Kraut", which hooked my interest. Attempts to take on mutlivalent musical genres like kosmische/krautrock cannot fall into redundant pastiches as there is relatively little to slavishly copy and not enough attempts to draw up a list of do's and don'ts. And because the music is basically fucking ace. I think these guys are from Finland.

"Anthem 3" has an old prog rock take on the best use of electronic keyboards, sinister light-bulb drone and darkly celestial choir loops. Could be Tangerine Dream. It is ace. Imagine watching the first dawn of the London Olympiad with this pouring in through your earholes; maje-ficent. "Marathon" is more of a Stereolab-lite (or should that be Stereolab-heavee?) kraut-chug with the controls on auto. It never hits the Wall though. (Oh, I'm sorry. I'm never sure when shit puns are going to strike next.)

"Mt. Olympos" is all crystalline daybreak, as you might expect. Frosty-nippled Zeus sending Usain Bolts of Olympic excellence down to earth to terrify we mortals into recognising his beardy godhead, that kind of thing. Built on synth power as most of the track are, ancient sounding loops and banks. "Munich 1972" crackles open as an electrical storm and the subject matter suggests that they aren't pitching for the ear of IOC anytime soon. Guitar noises Syd Floyd off in all directions before a piano puts its feet down and that choir invisible comes back. There's a lone noises spluttering like a radio looking for a signal, which in my more extravagantly metonymous outbursts I might compare to the Olympic Flame.

A quite start to "Victory", which I imagine working well a montage of lonely moments of athletic preparation. The kind of thing you see on adverts all the time - tying the bootlaces, stepping out on the training run, carrying the kit bag, heavy breathing. It's over eight minutes though, so the ad would need to have a lot to say. All grandiose cymbals and afterburner effects pedal. "Olympic Fire" is as massive as you would expect. Although it doesn't get very far. "Finish Line" has a Vangelis guitar and actual drum rolls at the beginning, which I hadn't expected. It ends fairly suddenly, but maybe that's the finish line crossed, just as the athleticism reaches its peak.

I love it when a random punt in a random record shop brings home the back fat.

Rating: Chariots out of Ancient Electronic Fire

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