Humm Bugg – Blue Laser

Is it a bird, is it a plane…. dunno? we’re in 8 bit so it could be a flying saucer. Yes, 8 bit quirky tunes floating on a backdrop of FM waves, if that floats your boat, be the Commodore and read on…

Very much in the realms of the home-grown; 8-bit music has always had a certain fan base within the experimental scene. It’s an area of music I sometimes drop into with open mind and a little excitement as generally you will never be sure of what you are gonna get. Generally you get the ‘Mental’ in ‘Experimental’.

I certainly let out a “Hmm” when I dropped on the ‘Humm Bugg’ Bandcamp page. Met with 8-bit imagery , the cover of ‘Blue Laser’ is straight to the point. This is exactly what you are going to get. Chip tunes a plenty, short and sweet buzzing, tweaks and mods all the way.

There are 10 tracks mostly a little over 2 minutes with just the one track exceeding 4 minutes (Undiscovered Bird Planet). Very tuneful, quirky as expected from this format. I like the feel, as always from chip tunes. It’s not meant to be serious or deep music, this is fun and should draw a smile.

There are some clever twists along the way showing the programming is much deeper than what appears on this chirpy surface. Call it Sine language (sorry, can’t help myself). Seriously though, some clever stuff going on here.

There is an element of B-Movie horror going on at times. I can visualise opener, ‘Clash Manor’ dropping into an Ed Wood jr tribute. ‘Everybody is Dead Dave’, playing over the Red Dwarf cruising through deep space. The slightly more serious sounding ‘Blood’ accompanying some mad alien doom game.

The shortness of the tracks add to the appeal along with a certain comedy aspect to some of the themes. ‘Blue Laser’ is a happy, feel good experience, although short, it feels a like a shot in the arm, a quick boost of happyness to get through the day.

Currently available via Bandcamp and soon to be released on all platforms –

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Matthew Dear – Beams (Extended Edition)

Beams of light may shine over this synth pop extension release…

beams

At times you’d be fooled into the era your ears are in. It does have a flashback style of sorts projecting back into the 80’s but in essence has all the credibility of current time and space. There’s also a pace to this, no rush at all, more of a canter throughout with no urgency or direction. It meanders on in a bubble of electronic melodies from one song to the next.

Opening track ‘Her Fantasy’ is the real stand out of all. It clearly transcends the relative polite mediocre that follows. This really is a feast in synth pop heaven, a trip back to times gone by when the original electronic wave collided with pop and all was cool with a chic swagger. Think ‘Fade To Gray’, Soft Cell the heart of New Romantics… Its one cool track.

The rest follows dutifully but nothing ascends the heights of the opener. Its not bad in any shape or form. All quite good really but the hedonistic feel loses ground rapidly and the temptation is to replay track 1. The following offerings take more than on the fly to appreciate as I did on the second and third play.

There is a lot going for Beams and it does grow on you. Excellent production all the way but for me it needed at least another as good as the opener, at least one would have given it shift to another place. A very good album but not a classic, certainly worth the playlist though.