How do you soundtrack a film about a rubber tyre named Robert, who comes to life in California and goes on a crazy, murderous bender? If your name is Mr Oizo, you replicate the film by keeping your tongue firmly in your cheek and calling on your considerable arsenal of musical styles and techniques to set the bizarre scene.
The film is his own, and to soundtrack it he has teamed up with Ed Banger label mate Gaspard Augé, otherwise known as half of Justice. Their brief is seemingly to make this B movie even more of a potential cult through its weird and wonderful music. A polite overture sets the scene, Sympho8 behaving like a French baroque organ voluntary with its recorder-like pipes. All is calm – but with these two at the helm, it is surely a matter of time before Ed Banger mayhem is let loose.
And so it is. But the soundtrack becomes frustratingly bitty after the thumping title track, which itself dips in and out of a surreal trumpet breakdown. The whole thing behaves like a bad dream in a club, the listener occasionally coming outside to catch some fresh air before plunging back inside for another bout of musical madness.
Some space is found with moments such as the slow disco number Room 16, but here the widescreen synths are disturbed by a random harpsichordist, the music weirdly polite and pedestrian until the thump of the beat returns.
These strange interludes doubtless enhance the film, but make home listening ultimately frustrating, while other tracks, Bellyball especially, promise to cut loose but don’t quite manage it. All of which builds the tension, but increases the frustration at the same time, the two elements never released to any satisfaction as the soundtrack closes in an air of melancholy, Sunsetire replicating the musical language of Sympho8.
Inevitably the highlights are the genuine club tracks, of which Tricycle Express is best with its pulsing synths and low slung house beats. Sheila behaves like an old Daft Punk B-side, working its strange counterpoint over another basic beat.
All of which adds up to a soundtrack that is too random and too knowing for its own good, in keeping with the film it would seem. Rubber is imaginative for sure, but skids around in random directions, losing its tread by the end.