Album: KINGBASTARD – Bastardize (Herb Recordings HERB006CD 2008)

The name Kingbastard conjours up visions of a group of moody, lank-haired blokes in black with a singer who sounds like a grizzly bear with a stick up its arse. Fortunately, it’s nothing of the sort. Bastardize is a collection of a dozen concise, eclectic electronic tracks produced by a guy called Chris Weeks. It’s sometimes playful, sometimes dark, but seldom dull.

There are nods to artists like Luke Vibert and Mike Paradinas, particularly in the way that, although Weeks takes his music seriously, it’s not taken too seriously. Some pieces skip along on a tide of breakbeats and glitches, whilst never quite abandoning the central melody. Others are played straighter. “Boxclever” is a furious slice of fuzzy two-step, whereas “Goodbye Mr Bedingo” is a beautiful,moody, dark ambient interlude and “Parenthesis”harks back to the golden age of the Warp Artificial Intelligence series. The one-fingered Casiotone melody of “Mind That Child” seems to belong to an even earlier age of ZX Spectrums, Commodore 64s and sepia-tinted episodes of Tomorrow’s World, and ends in an ice cream van rendition of “Greensleeves”.

“Data-Rape Function-Creep” (not sure about that title) is an altogether darker, grimier beast. “Bipolar” is possibly the best of the bunch. Introducing a doleful vocal (not unlike Guy Garvey), the music sounds like prime-period Aphex Twin, with melancholic synths and juddery beats. There are a couple of tunes that are a bit run of the mill glitchy electronica in the Paradinas mould, but most of the album is very strong – eclectic but consistent.

Following the excellent Engine7 album, Herb Recordings seem to be building a decent roster of home-listening electronica acts. Bastardize is another very good release from the label. It’s out on September 22nd through Cargo distribution, available as both a CD and download.

1 Tripod 3:55
2 Boxclever 4:08
3 Setoperator 4:31
4 Parenthesis 4:01
5 Mind That Child 4:21
6 Data-Rape Function-Creep 5:41
7 Bipolar 3:29
8 Goodbye Mr Bedingo 3:32
9 There’s a Little Machine in Everything 3:44
10 Follow the Dot 4:12
11 Got Milk Duckstomping 3:52
12 Eg2 4:14



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