Popcorn Lung – a Polytechnic Youth collection.

Essential end of year seasonal stocking filler from the Polytechnic Youth community, ‘Popcorn Lung’ serves as a rare peak through the portal at future happenings heading out of this most niche and cult of labels. Featuring ten newly woven and previously unheard heralds with the addition of one rare reappearance for the much requested ‘Tisch Tennis’ by XAM Duo, this compilation calls time on a memorable year that has seen the label issue a plethora of exemplary releases with the likes of the Heartwood Institute, Listening Center, Tomorrow Syndicate, Dialectric and Dream Division all pinching the tip of the iceberg as well as an occasional alternative RSD release in conjunction with Norman records – a super limited lathe press that paired together the Assistant and the British Experimental Rocket Group. Popcorn Lung’ for the most part, shines the light on some of the scene’s lesser spotted alchemists and finds them aligning themselves on the Polytechnic Youth radar. As mentioned earlier, this collection includes a much requested reappearance for XAM Duo’s ‘Tisch Tennis’. Originally released (as a shared label split with Horror Pop Sounds) as a limited (unofficial) Record Store Day outing in support of Norman Records and sharing groove space with the Au Fait, the track was briefly described here at time as ‘…. sounding like some vault disturbed find dusted down and polished up by those Bureau B folks, in truth taking its cue from a playfully impish Kreidler, ‘tisch tennis’ with its flippantly funky micro-chip chatters and binary bops comes bathed in a delightfully fond computer silver age vintage, its sights surveying future worlds to come as it seamlessly fuses the circuitry calibrations of Kraftwerk’s ‘computer world’ upon the luxuriant synthetic symphonic Europa chic chassis of  ‘Tour de France’…..’ As to the newbies, the collection opens with a debuting PY appearance by Toronto based sound alchemist Gabe Knox whose ‘look & listen’ we had the pleasure of previewing a week or two ago, into the bargaining despatching it fondly as ‘…. taking taking its cue from Gershom Kingsley’s electronic pop eternal ‘popcorn’ before distractively manoeuvring so that it finds itself in an alignment that converges with the orbital trajectory of both Dialectric and Tomorrow Syndicate. It’s something irrefutably cut with ridiculously catchy pop precision, a lost echo from an electronic pop golden age tailored in kosmische futurism and motored by pulsing motorik engineering….’ Still reeling from his recently released superb cassette ‘’une cassette comme les autres’ for the taping desk o-phon mania imprint, Perrache serves up the delightfully dinked and affectionately turned ‘synthismus’, here in its demo form, it purrs playfully like a sleepy headed ‘Digitalis’ era ISAN, its initial cooing charms engaging a decidedly doe eyed charming that has you imagining a snoozing family of moon dwelling wood folk lying beneath meteor showered skies. Ice cold intonations framed in a clinical cool, appear these days to make up the trademark fixed staring cryogenic chic of the Detox Twins these days, herewith ‘in the deep water’ an echo of early 80’s Europa eerie fashioned sublimely from the aloof chill formed stylings of a debut Visage album as rephrased by a cold collective combining the talents of both Client and Salon Boris as were under the influence of John Foxx. Been a while since we had any Polypores ear wear with which to hang the bunting out for, though I’m sure a recent live appearance posted on – I think sound cloud, but don’t hold me to that – is primed for near future mention. Assuming an ever more immersive ambient toned trajectory, Mr Buckley revisits his trippy techno haunts of the 90’s to craft ‘the strangest bloom’, a space satellite positioned at the very outlands of the cosmic map transmitting looped dream cycles into the voids upon whose pulsing palette a vaguely morphed moon sighed mosaic of Future Sound of London and Boards of Canada memories weave and waltz in the airless vacuum. What first hinted of something of a nostalgic glow belonging to a youthful Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark as though rewired with the mindset of a Vince Clarke era Depeche Mode, soon turns tact amorphously infusing itself into a pristine pulsing pop primacy that subtly smoulders and skin shreds into the streamlined crystalline and oceanic classicism of the Jarre hive mind though not before impishly dropping by La Dusseldorf on its orbital odyssey. This incidentally is the mysterious Karen Novotny X with the star swooned White Noise-ish ‘Brussels Expo 58’. New Age Arcade round out side 1 with ‘Chaos Magic’, a wonderfully spooled slice of silver age electro vintage, a lulling star watcher lullaby trimmed in all manner of minimalist motoriks and orbital oscillations which when gathered together effect a warm fuzzy serene glow to recall the more lights lowered chill forms of an Astronaut back catalogue.  Over on side 2 you’ll find a new cut from the Australian Testing Labs Inc, their first since their debuting full length ‘music for air cooled motoring’, ‘Alpenstrasse’ is pure kosmische kool cut with such nostalgic crafting that it had this particular listener right back in the 70’s watching reruns of ‘Fireball XL5’ imagining the part of Steve Zodiac with his trusted side kick Robert the Robert cruise controlling along the cosmic oceans to the sonic guidelight of Kraftwerk flotillas, nuff said really, very classy. One of, well for us at least, the finest moments of the gathering comes courtesy of Denise Fog’s ‘Zimbabwe Disco 79’ – a darkly dystopic eerie echo, that strangely fuses to its icy isolationist frame elements of kosmische dub, Moroder-esque mutant disco motoriks and a prevailing shadow gouged industrial ghosting, which together endow it with a subtle though nonetheless, haunting Throbbing Gristle graveness. Possessed of a playful sinister, Bernard Grancher’s ‘punition divine’ has an ominous monochrome chill about its persona as to suggest it be a hitherto foreboding mission statement of some planned AI take over bid, drawing to its bow a dot forming palette that subtly links the worlds of Add N to X, Colin Potter, Mount Vernon Arts Lab and the Radiophonic Workshop. Which all said leaves Kendo Nagasaki’s ‘the pint of no return’ to draw matters to a close in a quite momentous way, a mushrooming mothership of psyched surf brain dissolves, hypno-grooving mesmerics and hot wiring fringe frazzling freak storms, features solar fried trombones, I kid you not, file under Meek-esque dragster psych kosmick pill trip.    

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