Another round of gloriously kaleidoscopic spectral electro from the mysterious hauntologists
There’s something about engaging with the netherworlds conjured by Moon Wiring Club that brings to mind Edgar Allan Poe’s lines about our ability to reliably distinguish between reality and fantasy: “All that we see or seem / Is but a dream within a dream”.
German synthpoppers Propaganda lifted Poe’s ‘Dream Within A Dream’ for the opening track of their 1985 debut album, which also included ‘Dr Mabuse’, their paean to the fabled master of disguise and telepathic hypnosis whose true identity can never be pinned down. Almost the same could be said of Mr Paris Green and Dr Lettow-Vorbeck, the names behind the mysterious MWC, composers of electronic musical excursions that coax devotees into a distorted musical dimension of half-dreamt but fully-imagined hyper-reality.
Enter MWC’s world and you’ll discover that listening is only part of the pleasure. For everything that emanates from the Blank Workshop – the words, the pictures, the short films – is as arresting as the sounds. The detail, the realisation and the sheer inventive effort of it all puts much of the contemporary music industry’s output to shame.
With ‘Leporine Pleasure Gardens’, there’s also a continuity of the theme of laudanum-laced visions of Victorian England, particularly the playful delights of Lewis Carol’s hallucinatory imaginings. Mad toppers and bonnets in 2013’s ‘A Fondness For Fancy Hats’, here it’s the hare, a leporine presence pertaining more to down-the-rabbit-hole trips than anything conceived by folklore revivalists. Musically, we’re picked up exactly where we were dropped off last time, hence the looped narcoleptic voice intoning “Here we go again…” at the start of the album. The burst of percussion and weighty synth line that follows acts as a counterpoint to this faintly unsettling welcome and sets the tone for the rest of the record.
There’s an irresistible immediacy and an occasional lightness to ‘Leporine Pleasure Gardens’ that will surely only serve to widen the appeal of MWC. Tracks like ‘Further Down The Lawn’ and ‘Bouyancy Castle’ take knowingly-referenced electronica into uncharted territory, on one hand bringing to mind the early dancefloor experimentalism of New York (The Latin Rascals), Chicago (Phuture) and Leeds (LFO), but on the other magicking up something else entirely, something propulsively new. You might hear echoes of Boards Of Canada or fellow hauntologists Pye Corner Audio elsewhere, but there’s never a derivative moment. This is a truly ingenious work underpinned by a percussive complexity and a powerfully dystopian low-end that sounds like the distant future. ‘Magatrix Freeze’ warrants a special mention for the way it wonks its improbable slap-bass well beyond the fonk. Even Mark King won’t have ever heard anything quite like it.
All in all, this is thrillingly singular stuff from Moon Wiring Club and quite the restorative for ears that may have grown weary of identikit electronica.