Somnambule - Writing About Music

Low Res ~ Blue Ramen

Avowedly synthetic / cheesy neo-organ sounds, noise / fluffed chords… / upward-bubbling 50s chords… hey! these people aren’t listening to each other… well that’s the first minute for you. Tinkling synthi-piano notes, determinedly synthetic bass, for a moment I’m reminded of a busied up version of the final tracks on Landscape’s first album. The syntheticness is almost teeth-grating like the static electric shocks you get from putting on a nylon jumper.

‘!Baila Mami! (Parts 1 & 2)’ throws Paul Schutze at a near-bossa rhythm to see what sticks, then collides it with some big band samples resulting in an aural car crash… damn, but there went the kind of guitar synthesizer sound Pat Metheney employed on those avant funk tracks from Offramp… this is fun!

By the third track (‘Blue Ramen #3’), I’m feeling distinctly queasy – why did I drink so much? I should know by now… but wait a moment I haven’t touched a drop – it’s those big clumsy organ chords, the electric piano, the muffled bongos… I’m glad it’s over quickly otherwise I’d be dashing for the nearest sink.

‘ Chalky’. Chalky? Like the taste of Milk of Magnesia? I feel the heartburn coming on already. ‘Chalky’ feels like spending time becalmed in an oleaginous ocean, noxious gas clouds occasionally swirling round in the dim light.

Blue Ramen is music for bars on the edges of tanker depots, for all those Airfix kits melted by your big brother and his matches, for all those fans of David Lynch who also happen to have a soft spot for Billy Jenkins and Squarepusher or Fourtet. This music is fake jazz, like a counterfeit Gucci watch - bad, where bad means not good for you, choc-full of ‘E’ numbers, E102, E1194, E1831, E994a, E37 - those are the ones on the pot noodle I’m munching, for starters. And if you’re going off to the kitchen cupboard to check whether I’ve quoted the correct ‘E’ numbers, go out and order this album, it might be for you.
Colin Buttimer
September 2002
Published by the BBC