Volta Sounds – 2001 – 46 minutes
The musical accompaniment to Vinny Murphy’s speed-crazed images is an out-of-control joyride of beats, bangs and blips. It sounds as if Portishead’s Adrian Utley and Goldfrapp’s Will Gregory have hard-coded a sackful of sounds and pasted them into a template for car chase music.
The accomplished beat makers/breakers get straight to work on the opening title track, a pool of lazy bruised beats. Ominous strings assert themselves intermittently to chide and startle and fuzzed up electric guitars eventually fade into murky filters. Cue the stripped down automaton rhythms of Corrosive Beat Treatment, no mistaking that these are minimalist beats Eno-style. The film is set between two of Ireland’s biggest urban centres, Dublin and Belfast, the latter city represented here by one David Holmes. Old-skool house keyboards kick this Holmes anthem off, with an off-synch, is-the-record-stuck? effect splattered over the whole dirty lot.
The sleazy bass of Belfast Prep Scene is backed by tripped out sounds borrowed from the Orb, and this staccato piece melts into the album’s longest track, the sublime night wanderings of Fridge's Sequoia. A luminous creation, this sounds like The Dirty Three versus backstreet downtempo smoky jazz. Just when our chin-stroking reverie is about to get too far out, the jolly, Bontempi bonanza of When Will You Be Mine kicks in, overlaid by a flat Dublin accent intoning a sweetshop order that takes me back.
Messrs (or messers?) Utley and Gregory reappear with a musical innuendo somewhere between jazzy beats and featherweight hip-hop. Howie B’s alias Daddylonglegs brings it back to the mono-Eno beats of earlier. Pony Express is electronic minimalism at its finest – if it was a room, it would have white walls and floorboards adorned only with one piece of obscure artwork. Although there are sparse pieces on ‘Accelerator’, the lush beauty of End Titles more than makes up for it. At times it is introspective, at others it verges on epic, and that’s even before the punctured, breathless vocals of Alison Goldfrapp enter the picture.
Not so much breakbeat, as bruised beats. Low-fi, get-high tunes for everyone from motor muso, to car-bashing, beat-lashing scallywag. You’d be lucky to walk away from this one unscathed.
Tracklisting: Accelerator (Adrian Utley & Will Gregory) – Corrosive Beat Treatment (Brian Eno) – 16 Seconds (David Holmes) – Belfast Prep Scene (Adrian Utley & Will Gregory) – Sequoia (Fridge) – When Will You Be Mine? (The Beulah Pops) – Shop Scene – (Adrian Utley & Will Gregory) – Pony Express – (Daddylonglegs) – End Titles – (Adrian Utley, Will Gregory & Alison Goldfrapp)