Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Batch Sound Takes Out The Psykotrash

The latest release from Future City Records is a massively surprising and entertaining record from Italy's Batch Sound. My initial impressions were that this album was going to be an 80s electro themed excursion, especially based on the Batch Sound singles I'd heard previously. But much to my surprise this album took things in hugely varied directions that weave a musical tapestry of bright colours and many moods; all the while retaining a totally authentic 80s presentation.

The opening tracks, 'Psykotrash' and 'Automachine XOVOM' are high energy electro breaking opuses that deliver high speed thrills with classically layered sound effects and magnificent vocal/sample work.  The authenticity of the production is totally invigorating, each elements sounds dialled in directly from 1984 and is composed in a manner that remains absolutely true to the style of the day.

There is a bridging piece on this record that occurs in track three. 'The Chimpanzee Dance' is a tremendously entertaining novelty track that is driven by a range of samples that present a cacophony bleeping melodies, digitised voices and excited sounds from the animal kingdom. This piece is held together by a melody that is much more pop than electro based, all the while the electro percussion blasts away in the engine room. It's this melody that takes us from one genre into new territories, the wild electro safari completes with a slight hint of drama that is then expounded upon in the fourth act.

'Night Rust' is the track that changes everything I thought I knew about Batch Sound. The scene opens amid a sirens wail followed by crunching guitars. All of sudden we're dropped in the middle of an urban panic; full of energy and driving melodies. The soundscape explodes into an incendiary OutRun experience that leaves a ruinous trail of fire and smoke in it's wake. The build throughout this track is superb, the narrative runs deep and it's many smaller passages make for a densely intense story.

Taking even more of a departure from the familiar cues of the earlier tracks comes the highly enigmatic 'Poison Sunday'. This darker toned soundtrack synth piece contains a few elements of horror, and numerous influences from the likes of soundtrack composers like Goblin, but it's structure displays the range of musical emotions Batch Sound are capable of capturing. The music builds with a methodic slowness, adding layers and flourishes in their own time and allowing this track to build to a climax full of powerful synths and thunderous guitars.

As if this wasn't divergent enough chapter six of Psykotrash brings back some their electro sounds and then injects a colourful dose of italo disco into the mix for spectacular results. 'Regatta 666' feels like Plaisance on electro shock therapy as the smoothly seductive synth melodies are punctured by sharp sample stabs and the Regatta 666 refrain. It's a mix that Batch Sound weave their magic around in an inimitable fashion that works beautifully.

'Cartagena Rock' takes the listener into a jungle deep with drama as pan flute melodies get obliterated by huge drums and even bigger guitars. The pace is kept to a canter and the sounds flash over head in a neon lightning storm. Once again the structure of this piece is spectacularly arranged with passages that signify new threats and suspicions, while every melodic tone intimates the finest detail. Batch Sound's use of samples is really second to none in the 80s inspired synth scene. Each track has a range of sampled sound effects and the way they are implemented is perfectly authentic to the early 80s soundscapes where this type of element was fresh and exciting; which is exactly what Batch Sound's music is throughout this record.

By the time 'Crack-Cola' begins you become aware that this record is a freeform entity unto itself. The chaotic nature of this track especially really displays what Batch Sound are capable of with their mixing of a tonne of unrelated genres, samples and melodies and fabricating something that is thoroughly engaging and still completely authentic to the 80s in every way. Sitting back and enjoying the ride through such exotic and verdant scenery is definitely the best way to take this in.

Moving into the back end of Psykotrash the soundscape gets as minimalist as Batch Sound will allow on 'A Bickk Trick'. Delightful melodies quirk and jerk through bossa nova derived percussion into a bright odyssey full of cheerfulness and pitch perfect 80s naiveté. Completing the album is 'City lights Blues' which allows the soulfully cognisant guitars to wail a tale of sorrow and heartbreak amid the unforgiving concrete jungle. The moonlit synths and cloudy percussion set a poignant and delicate soundscape that is wholly entrancing and also finishes off the record on a sweetly high note as the melodic refrains fade out into the darkness.

This record is an incredible experience from beginning to end, it's the kind of album you can have on repeat for hours on end, as I have. The sheer amount of diversity without any weak links in the presentation all the way through Psykotrash creates an experience unlike any other in the 80s inspired synth scene. It's a testament to this duo's talent that every single track hooks the listener and takes them into so many different worlds and emotions, while still retaining individual hallmarks in their soundscapes.

Batch Sound's Psykotrash album is presented by Future City Records on their Bandcamp page here and ,  to put it simply, I can't recommend this album highly enough. The originality of Batch Sound's music while still being so authentic is something uncommon in the scene. These producers deserve much respect as it's very obvious they've refined their sound over time and have created something spectacular in this album. I can guarantee you won't hear an album from anyone else that sounds anything like Psykotrash so please support this totally rockin duo buy purchasing this record and give them some more love on their Facebook page here for more kick arse Batch Sound action.

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