Send me your track


Moon Wiring Club - A Spare Tabby at the Cat's Wedding

Blank Workshop


I don’t know what Jacques Derrida had in mind when he coined the term “Hauntology”. Well, maybe the vaguest idea (shout going out to the theory crew on Wikipedia), but I’m certain he wasn’t thinking of PS2 game MTV Music Generator 2. For a start, it was 1993, the game wasn’t to be released for eight years, and Derrida was addicted to Star Control II at the time. But mainly, the term had yet to be applied to music by respected bloggers or lazy reviewers (ahem). And Moon Wiring Club’s Ian Hodgson hadn’t started using his copy to create intricate looped samplescapes, imbuing them with inexplicable mythology and disturbing artwork, and building a fantastic-in-every-sense body of work that fits into the hauntological canon as much as anything else might.

A Spare Tabby At The Cat’s Wedding might be the most complicated MWC release yet.There are three versions, with a re-released CD complementing the original LP/CD, all with different artwork. The CD releases have the same tracklist, but the LP contains different music, although with many of the same track titles. This is because the vinyl version is the “dream mix-up” of the CD: the version of the album you thought you were going to buy before you played the CD, which disappeared as soon as you heard the actual music and thenceforth was only available in your dreams. Do keep up.This is a review of the CD re-release, and in true Gonzo spirit I haven’t listened to the vinyl version. Instead, I dreamed it. Then I dreamed a really good review which I forgot as soon as I woke up, leaving you with this drivel.

Discombobulating concept aside - space stops me from even starting on the cat’s wedding part - ASTATCW also contains some music. And, in great news, the strangeness of the back-story is more than matched by the trippy excellence of the album.

For starters, you get a lot for your money, even disregarding that there’s an entire vinyl album as well. There are twenty tracks squeezed into an hour, but it flows superbly. Sticking to genres that are vaguely definable there’s a mix of head-nodding hip-hop beats and weird, brain-frying sampledelic madness. A not-unnoticed debt to Boards Of Canada looms large - especially on “Woodsmoke & Treacle” and “The Owd Wedding March” - but I feel it’s homage, not biting, and there’s much that’s completely different. Picking two highlights from many, second track “Feline Ascension Time” allies some massive synths to a stuttering beat, and “Dancing Against Time” ups the average tempo and adds a almost-pumping bassline, to create something initially danceable which quickly descends into faintly terrifying echoes, reversed screams and stolen snatches of horror film dialogue. Indeed, vocal samples are a recurring theme - particularly, watch out for the only “Jack, Jack, Jack” sample you’ll hear this year that sounds like it was recorded in the Home Counties circa 1955.

If there’s anything to raise as a negative, it’s that the looped-samples format mean some tracks (“Victorian Butter Boat”) are little more than sketches overlaid with increasingly bonkers plunderphonics. But, in some ways this just shows how well Moon Wiring Club has overcome the limitations of his chosen composition method to create a detailed, atmospheric and great-sounding collection. It’s frankly incredible if you consider he’s already released another album (Somewhere A Fox Is Getting Married) since this came out. Whichever album you buy, you won’t be disappointed.
Sam Stagg

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>
« Jeff Mills - The Power | Main | Toby Frith @ WYS »