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Flash.bat - Laud Baud

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Artist: Flash.bat

Album: Laud Baud

Label: Jib Door

Review date: Jun. 9, 2006

As long as such a wealth of technology is being developed and discarded, the recent past will remain fertile ground for artists and the hipsters who dig them. Witness 8-Bit Peoples, Crystal Castles and Co. take slightly anachronistic “computer game music” to the creative and commercial bank.

I’m never quite sure who reads this stuff, but I imagine at least a few of you are already sick of the aforementioned, arguably played-out musical subgenre, and would rather listen to an actual Gameboy than to an insurgent “8-bit punk.” I’m never quite sure, but Malcom McLaren, the man who wrote the 2003 Wired article of that name, has likely moved on as well. If, like me, you still harbor some interest in the stuff but are ready for a more adventurous take, Flash.bat might be your ticket.

Flash.bat is Tom Bradshaw, a talented prankster from St. Louis. He does the whole thing himself. Most of it sounds assembled less from catchy, distracting “game music” than from the often harsh sound effects that enrich the game world and draw the player into the action.

Most of it is not danceable – at all, by any stretch of the imagination. Like good video games themselves, it is at once frustrating, engrossing and full of secret nooks found only through repeated exploration. To be fair, some of it is rather rhythmic and catchy, particularly “Hemingway No. 40 (Mono Version)” (with its tight, militaristic rhythms) and the glorious, attention-deficient one-two of “Electroqueue” and “Electroflux,” (which, between them, must harbor dozens of potential club classics awaiting extraction).

The less inviting, less conventionally structured stuff is no less compelling. One particularly inventive passage of “LED – Fresnel Lens” sounds like the destruction of large blocks of pixels, sending some errant digi-shrapnel straight off the screen and into the apple juice. “Telemetry” is an argumentative conversation between contrasting patterns at all sorts of frequencies, a test record that wants to change the world.

By Emerson Dameron

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