Underground filmmakers create electronic nervousness for an anxious era

Minimal synth droner ’You Had To Be There’ by Philadelphia-based duo Cheryl Gelover and Tom Murray, trading as Tulipomania, has all the hallmarks of fine Cold War electronica: a brain-searing synth line, and an overwhelming sense of claustrophobia and bubbling anxiety.

The video, an animated expressionist collage of nightmarish imagery, was painstakingly built from elderly found footage and ”an exploration of varied states of disintegration and recombination created on thousands of individual sheets of black or white paper.”

With their fifth album, ‘Dreaming Of Sleep‘, ready for release, Gelover and Murray also have previous in the creation of impressive videos for electronic music of note. They made two similarly constructed films for Cabaret Voltaire co-founder Stephen Mallinder’s 2022 solo album ‘tick tick tick‘.

They’ve been variously described as cult synth punks, post-punk and art-rock, and they’re certainly recalling an era of artful subversion of Sheffield’s electronic output of the 1970s in all its dour glory, spliced with a 1980s 4AD dreampop aesthetic that gave us the likes of Wolfgang Press and Ultra Vivid Scene. Vaughan Oliver even designed the cover of their fourth album, ‘This Gilded Age‘.

For more, visit tulipomania.com

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