Wagon Christ man raids lost archives of antique electronica
The sleeve itself is a masterpiece,
all fake wood panelling and retro-futurist typography. Luke Vibert, aka Wagon Christ, excavates a hidden alternative history of left-field pop
here in the form of ’70s library music – those proto-electronic doodles and
pre-techno instrumentals recorded
in underground bunkers by lab-coated jazz professors probably wearing Bacofoil trousers.
A well of inspiration not just to electro curators like Vibert but also the likes of Air, Daft Punk, The Beta Band, Add N To (X), Pulp and the Beastie Boys, these 28 tracks are less kitsch curious than trippily exotic buried treasure. Although mostly recorded as incidental ambient doodles for TV and radio, it is difficult to imagine Bagpuss or Mr Benn grooving to the propulsive Krautronic drones of Anthony King or the wigged-out space waltzes of the Heinz Funk Electronic Combo – never mind the splendorous screamadelic dub symphony ‘Sundown’ by Jacques Arel and Pierre Dutour.
Aside from a tiny handful of self-indulgent jams, the prevailing tone is a freewheeling, ego-free inventiveness that easily matches Radiohead’s most recent efforts. Beaming back from the remote past like antique radio signals bounced back from space, this is the album where lab-coat rock proves its psychedelic party credentials. Don’t forget your tin-foil trousers.