Hailing from Nottingham, 8mm Orchestra are a 5-piece who specialise in instrumental alternative/electronic rock music, formed out of necessity when founder member George Darby required music for an 8mm film he was doing as a university art project. On the Wristbreaker/Tolt 3-track e.p their sound is incredibly hard to pin down, each track could conceivably come from a different act. The final track is a remix and it’s always hard to ascertain how much is remixer, how much is band.
Track one is the epic 7 minute instrumental 'Wristbreaker' which begins with what sounds like a spaced-out merry-go-round being slowed down and sped up. Then a meandering bass groove and crisp electro drums appear before the drums crack in and the guitars fire up with a dirty distorted squeal. Nicely balanced between electronica and all-out rocking it really gets into your head after a few listens.
Initially, without having the press release to hand I begin to wonder as to who the musicians are involved in 8mm Orchestra. See, there’s this amazing elastic bass line that is reminiscent of a great bass player. Some extraordinary lead guitar breaks and virtuoso solos that could only be played by one man on the planet. This is all complimented by the percussive duties of a very distinctive drumming (man) machine. I’m just waiting for Perry Farrell to start singing and this is some long lost Jane’s Addiction track future-fied with electronic underbelly. Yep, that good.
A radical departure completely for track two, 'Tolt', which envelopes your ears in a sensual overload of very lush electronic pianos. This is the kind of music you expect to be accompanied with a very bright light, some clouds and possibly a bearded gentleman, depending on your beliefs. It’s truly a beautiful piece of music and certainly lives up to the claim in the PR about pushing boundaries of sound exploration. I just wish it was expanded apon and made a bit longer, it’s over all too briefly after 2mins 53 seconds.
I mentioned already about not being able to define between remix-er and remix-ee and this is where this e.p loses points (if points were being given). The Moscow Youth Cult remix of 'Pale Blue Dot' begins with curious warped tones and striking synth notes but is quickly usurped by common 4/4 beats and generic electro squelches. I daresay the original tune is much better fare and I’d recommend including another of my own compositions on a 3 track e.p. At the very least tell the Moscow Youth Cult to stick to recruiting young folks as remixing isn’t their vocation.
The Wristbreaker e.p. is really a case of 2 out of 3 are very, very good and the third ain’t (particularly) bad, just not as good.
My curiosity has been sufficiently aroused to check out some of their other work because 8mm Orchestra have certainly got the ability to play and confound.