Let Us Now Listen To The Discographies Of Various Musicians

Mike K

Black Moth Super Rainbow: Start A People

Start A People (2004)

One thing about Black Moth Super Rainbow is that they're apparently not ones to shy away from remaking songs, even ones just released a year before hand - new versions of "Vietcaterpillar" and "I Think It Is Beautiful That You Are 256 Colors Too" show up here, and it's not the only time they'd do something like that. I'm not complaining though - in both tracks there are noticeable and pretty interesting changes made: "Vietcaterpillar" was already a highlight of Falling Through A Field, and the addition of a little funky electric bass, more layered melodies, and more audible vocodered vocals make it even better. The new version of "I Think It Is Beautiful That You Are 256 Colors Too" also adds bass and a less minimal arrangement, but mainly highlights the effect using much more vocoder has on their songs' atmosphere: It was pretty unsettling to hear Tobacco whisper-sing lines like "I don't want to live through winter / I can't stand to see everything ending", but the vocoder makes it unnerving in a different way, and certainly makes the melody seem less simplistic. I do still kind of miss the "we just rolled our lead vocalist out of his death bed and into the recording studio" feel of the original though.

I brought up the repeated songs first, because they kind of demonstrate the difference between this album and Falling Through A Field: Start A People is a bit groovier and more inviting-sounding, but doesn't sacrifice the hazy, surreal vibe of the debut. There's more emphasis on danceable drum loops and the occasional bass groove (check out the space-funk breakdown of "Early 70's Gymnastics"), but those ever present retro synths are always going to keep things a bit trippy and disorienting, and if anything the vocoder adds to both the funkiness and the Uncanny Valley effect. They're also deliberately making certain tracks more tinny-sounding than others for effect: "Seeds" sounds like someone recorded it from vinyl to cassette, then played said cassette way too much, and part of what makes it so oddly nostalgic are things like the hiss, parts of the song running a bit too slow, then going back to normal speed, and crackle that occasionally overtakes the song itself.

Key Tracks: Early 70's Gymnastics, Vietcaterpillar, I Am The Alphabet