Eat Lights Become Lights

Heavy Electrics

Heavy Electrics is the second album by writer and producer Neil Rudd and the band of merry musicians who help him take his music to stage – the Eat Lights Collective. Inspired by a heavy love for ’70s German electro, Rudd formed ELBL in 2007 and hit the road hard. Indeed, the sound on the 2011 debut album Autopia was defined by what could or didn’t work in a live context.

This seems to have also informed Heavy Electrics, a seven-track instrumental album that plays like a sonic sci-fi soundtrack, and apart from opening track ‘Bound for Magic Mountain’ – which sounds like something that, starring a unicorn, would go viral on YouTube – the track names for Heavy Electrics read like a list of Arthur C.Clark short stories ‘Bound for Magic Mountain’ lives up to its joyous, perhaps childish, title, and makes for a fantastic opener. It begins with a light and ploddy analogue key riff, backed by airy synths, that sounds as though Doctor Who is getting giddy with the control buttons in his TARDIS. This is followed, very quickly, by a distorted and deliciously raspy guitar line and quick firing drums.

‘Heavy Electrics’ and ‘La Kraut III’ further extend Rudd’s fusion of vintage electro and psychedelic rock, the disparate styles woven together into a rather elegant monotony. ‘Runners’ and ‘Syd Mead Cityscape’, in name and content set controls to head further down the dystopian soundtrack route. Maintaining the high-octane pulse that runs throughout, both tracks explore a more Vangelis-inspired soundscape. They are more heavily synthesized and aurally spacious although ‘Runners’ does eventually build with an intensity akin to being chased down a darkened alley by a hundred angry, gun-wielding Replicants. The reference to concept artist Syd Mead, who designed films such as Bladerunner, Alien and Tron, is a heavy nod to the aesthetic inspiration that fuelled this album.

‘Sunrise at Marwar Junction’ is the solitary beast of the album, and it couldn’t sound more angelic if it was sat on a cloud flapping wings and pondering going to have a chat with a lass called Mary. Channeling a blend of lift music from a peace-droid ship heading straight for the Milky Way and the type of thing that is supposed to sooth you whilst having a massage, ‘Sunrise at Marway Junction’ demonstrates Rudd’s more gentle side, making for a breather in what is a very excitable record. After devouring Heavy Electrics one is left somewhat fiber-optic, whisked through grimy dystopian streets, into dodgy Replicant bars where rock bands perform in a cages and back again via a spaceship overlooking all. Take off!

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