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CD: Twink - Itsy Bits & Bubbles | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Twink - Itsy Bits & Bubbles

CD: Twink - Itsy Bits & Bubbles

Massachusetts titan of toytronica returns

Twink: unafraid of a little kitsch

I’m a fan of a child-like musical sub-genre which some call toytronica. It’s the sound of retro-futuristic electronic music mashing into playroom sounds, sometimes using actual gimmicky children’s toy instruments. In its broadest definition, it could take in anything from the bizarre surrealist Moog cheese of easy listening doyen Klaus Wunderlich to the more outré outings from Warp Records acts such as Plone, although possibly the ever best album in this vein is Anglo-Norwegian duo Toy’s self-titled 2006 debut on Smalltown Supersound. A regular and great contributor to this micro-genre, however, is Boston musician Mike Langlie whose sixth album this is.

Langlie’s material has actually been used by Nickelodeon, the US children’s TV channel, but much of it is a little too weird for that. Yes, of course it’s self-consciously juvenile but it’s also out there, funny and cute – cute in a raw, stupid way rather than in the schmaltzy, syrupy sense. Small children really do enjoy this stuff but, at the same time, much of it is utterly psychedelic, music that sends altered minds round the twist. The fried thinking behind the farmyard animal noises and bass parps of “Lollidropper”, the deranged xylophonic attack on Harold Faltermeyer’s “Axel F” and the madcap Disney military waltz-stomp meets pretend-dubstep of “Flibberty Gibbet” are the most immediately and noticeably off-the-wall aspects, but the whole album is full of loony tunes that have cartoonish zest and madcap energy.

I first came across Twink – no relation to the drummer from The Pretty Things and The Pink Fairies – when I heard his 2005 album Broken Record which, aptly, came out on Seeland, the label owned by Californian sonic subversives and seminal cut-up innovators Negativland. Broken Record took old children’s records, added beats then sent the whole thing up. Itsy Bits & Bubbles ditches satire and may be Twink’s most approachable album, at least for those who like their electronic music distinctly offbeat. It will terrify Adele fans, floor spliff-heads and entertain toddlers in equal measure – surely high recommendation.

Watch the video for 'Flibberty Gibbet' which pilfers wholesale and amusingly from the Van Beuren Studios' wonderful old Aesop's Fables cartoons

 

Of course it’s self-consciously juvenile but it’s also out there, funny and cute

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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