No, not the bearded Hebrew peacenik, but the Scottish purveyor of gibber and squeak electronica. In his early years he worked with Boards of Canada (appearing on Twoism) in the Hexagon Sun collective, but his 9 albums and EP’s have established him as a beacon of melodic light in an ocean of cut and paste glitch nonsense. This release is effectively a “Best of…” but takes the highlights of his back catalogue and updates them using the live electronic drums and keyboards he has been using on tour since 2006. I’m not sure whether this is a live album in any other sense (ie: recorded in front of an audience).
The first track “Chopper” begins with a quick run through of the “live v-drums” and on their own they sound … cheesy, as electronic drums do in my opinion. It is only when they combine with his live keyboards and some of the original drum programming that you start to warm to the whole process, and by the end of the track I was nodding my head and stroking my beard. That has to be good, especially as I don’t particularly like the “Bike” EP which this track is from.
The second track “Happy Four Twenty” is very subtly different to its incarnation on the “Blue Shift Emission” album, but it does seem to be a bit more immediately likeable than the original. “Blue Shift Emission” took me an age to like, but one day it clicked, and the other tunes he plays from it on this live release (“Cordate”, “Making A Snow Angel” and “Vernor Vinge”) are similarly re-vamped to make them fuzzy, warm and immensely loveable. “Cordate” in particular deserves a mention because of the super 80’s / Jean-Michel Jarre remix they’ve done of the original version… perfect for playing an air keyboard one handed. “Perlandine Friday” sounds a little lost for some reason, which is odd because it sounded great on the Pylonesque EP and I suspect that it is the strength of the other tracks that makes it sound a little bloated. “Marsh of Epidemics” on the other hand sounds particularly good for the injection of live drums, as I always though it sounded atmospheric but a little aimless on the “Seeing and Doing” EP.
My highlight off “Live” is undoubtedly “MK Naomi”, a fantastic tune which has been made ethereally beautiful with drums that sound like someone playing a bunch of pots and pans. This is the song that I would use to convert people to Christ. and I defy anyone to hear it and be unmoved by its marriage of clanky beats, church organs and weird quacky noises.
If you’ve never heard of him, this is an excellent place to start letting the light of Christ. into your life (…come on it needed saying…) and the album artwork, or rather what iTunes seems to think is the album artwork, is an excellent bonus.
Myspace – http://www.myspace.com/christhyperact