"Beaty sampladelic schizo dub - with a touch
of ambient," it says on the label, and who am I to argue? For
Otaku - allegedly consisting of brothers Colonel 32 and NaN,
and who apparently came together in San Francisco "to soundtrack
an art exhibition comprising alien artefacts" - have come up
with just about the perfect description of this album.
Incorporeal Automata opens strongly with Dye, which has some almost ethereal tones that are held together by a throbbing bass and a clattery percussion that soon gives away to an almost military feel. Otaku don't let up either. Spook, which follows, sounds like 23 Skidoo covering The Good The Bad & The Ugly theme! In fact, fans of 23 Skidoo would do well to investigate this album as Spook isn't the only track that brings them to mind. Mista Chips Wild Ride, for example, with its almost tribal feel, would fit very nicely onto the classic Seven Songs album.
Other highlights include The Great Journey Within, which
is not unlike early Loop Guru in their more dancey moments,
the remix of Dye, which is reminiscent of Leftfield's
excellent second album, Rhythm & Stealth, and
Some Evil Dub, which is just what it says: evil dub.
In fact, despite the pretty little piano motif that rides above
it all, Some Evil Dub has a similar, almost overpoweringly
dense feel as much of Massive Attack's Mezzanine.
OK, some tracks, such as Leon's Dilemma and Dub Bass
Ambient, drift by without making much of an impression.
Still, overall the first half of Incorporeal Automata
is a success.
The second half of the album is taken up with Live From Gods Hard Drive, Parts 1-7, which was apparently commissioned for the 200th edition of the radio show Le Vestibule. Highlights here include Part 1, called (appropriately enough) In The Beginning, which features a lovely blink-and-you-miss-it synth line. My favourite, though, is Part 2, called A Garden Of Roses, with its forlorn acoustic guitar almost pleading over a Strawberry Fields-like keyboard. However, at the risk of turning my nose up at a welcome spot of Value For Money, I can't help thinking that there are two albums here. In fact, at almost one hour twenty minutes, you can have too much of a good thing, and the sound quality on the promo cd suffered towards the end as a result. And quite apart from anything else, I reckon Live From Gods Hard Drive is worthy of a release of its very own.
Still, this is a minor gripe. If you like any of the acts I've mentioned, or you want to re-visit My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts territory, then I recommend stopping off here. Otaku are worthy of a listen in their own right.