Album Reviews

Implosion Quintet – The Future Sound Of Yesterday

(Cookshop) UK release date: 6 July 2009

Implosion Quintet is lying to you. There are not five of them at all. This is in fact the work of English-born Norway resident James Baker. Although there’s only one of him, The Future Sound Of Yesterday suggests that there maybe several different James Bakers lurking away in this electronic composer’s mind. On this evidence there are indeed more than five of them too. This is such a schizophrenic record that there are probably enough James Bakers to adequately staff an orchestra.

The scope of genres covered on The Future Sound Of Yesterday is dizzying. While some more eclectic artists are content to explore individual genres over separate tracks, Implosion Quintet are quite happy to leap from idea to idea, decade to decade and genre to genre within the space of a single track. Such frequent changes in mood, direction and pace can be jarring if not handled correctly but with very few exceptions Baker expertly manages these manoeuvres, stitching together ideas in a fiendishly brilliant web.

Most of these tracks are instrumental and as such will undoubtedly be described as perfect film soundtrack pieces. There’s some truth to this of course, but there are very few films that would require a piece of music that sounds as if it should accompany the trials and tribulations of a Balkan cowboy trapped in a space capsule with an opera singing Nosferatu. We could be wrong of course – our knowledge of Balkan Gothic Sci-Fi Westerns is somewhat limited.

We’d like to see him adding his quick musical wit to cartoons, where the frantic action and occasional defiance of science would suit him down to the ground. One song in particular would fit the bezerk world of animation perfectly. This is Fucking Art calls to mind Fantomas‘ Suspended Animation in that it possesses guitar lines that grind under screamed vocals.

It then develops into something positively Mexican, having paused in Greece along the way for a quick bowl of olives and a jig. And then from Mexico back to France for a tinkle on a glockenspiel. But all the while there’s a sinister subtext lurking below the surface that can only explode in a couple of bars of Hooked on a Feeling and a mournful fade out played on accordion.

There are numerous examples of these seemingly random thought processes all over this album, but they never feel forced, and they do manage to keep your attention. A snatch of funked up Pink Floyd here, a ’70s cop show theme tune there, a dash of folk, a smidgen of prog rock pomposity, a dollop of thrash metal, lashings of sundry influences from around the globe and, most vital to the whole affair, a massive sense of fun and adventure.

An intriguing and wonderful listen, Implosion Quartet might have lied, and Mr Baker might be a bit of a looney, but these looney tunes are well worth investing in.

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Implosion Quintet – The Future Sound Of Yesterday