Thursday, June 4, 2015

Cassette Review: Five Star Hotel "Outlands"

[$6 // Edition of 50 //]

Often times I find myself comparing the music of an artist with either the name they have chosen to create the music under or the title of the cassette.   With Five Star Hotel, I can't help but think that the name brings out thoughts of some sort of rock n roll band, like from the era of Guns N Roses because they want to be all about trashing hotel rooms and what not.    Or it could just be some play on words where you say that you stay in five star hotels but really sleep in your van.    The music of Five Star Hotel is actually quite far removed from that sort of big hair/pretentious rock style and we are all the better for it.

"Outlands" begins with static winds and then they turn into electronic loops.  Space blasts bring out big, triumphant synth and there are beats as well.   It reminds me a bit of the soundtrack for "Run Lola Run", though the line between soundtrack and score gets blurred for me.   It also can become pretty heavily distorted in a bugzapper sense with notes and that makes me think of Transformers.    Drum machine beats and Space Invader blips have me thinking of Atari Teenage Riot but only in name.    It's somewhat instrumental hip hop and as Side A comes to an end all I can think of is the television series "Alias".

On Side B there are sounds of R2D2 which then bring out a screwed voice.   An alarm of some kind is set to a rhythm.  I wish that car alarms were set to a rhythm.  If they're going to go off all the time for no reason they might as well give us a beat we can dance to, right?   A slight piece of the test of the Emergency Broadcast System comes out.   There are modem sounds and lasers shot.    A screeching type of drone is how this all plays out, somewhere between noise and electronic music but still mostly that computer-based sound overall.

I'm aware of what 8bit music implies and how a Gameboy is traditionally used to create the sounds you hear with it, but what about computers?  And I'm not talking about downloading some program and pressing a button to create a song, I mean it in the sense that it sounds like someone is manipulating the sounds of a computer the way one would with a Gameboy to create 8bit music.   There should be a name for this genre of people creating music that sounds like it comes from robots and what is a robot but an elaborate computer program?

Regardless of whether or not there is a genre name for this (There probably is and I'm just not aware of it) it is really good as it combines those sounds of something electronic and mixes them with others so as not to remain purely electronic.   Yet, the sounds combined in could still be made from the same family of instruments so it never really strays too far away from its source.    Five Star Hotel displays another shining example of music that will be radio mandatory when the robot overlords inevitably take control.    Should this be our fate musically, I say bring it on.

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