In case you didn't know, Rephlex Records is co-owned by Richard D. James (aka Aphex Twin). With his label, he helps to releases a wide batch of electronic artists that many times end up stranger than his own work. His newest signings are the beat-ballistics of Bogdan Raczynski (Boku Mo Wakaran and Samurai Math Beats), the Bjork-esque sounding Leila, and this newer strange release by the duo of Bodestandig 2000. In case you couldn't tell from the name, they're German, and before we go any further I think I should inform you that they might just be a bit mentally unhinged. In terms of weird-sounding music that I've gotten my hands on in the past year, this release just might come out on top.
One of the wacky things about the group is that they composed everything on the album on a computer sound-card. While that might not be too strange given all the musicians who are doing such things (and nearly everyone else swearing by their use at some point in the recording process), Bodestandig 2000 go one step further in that they use really old-school computers. In a picture on the cover of their album, you can not only see a 15 dollar plastic keyboard laying in the background, but an old Atari computer system setup and a crappy radio all sitting in front of headphones that probably cost more than the entire setup.
Instead of trying to make really hip sounding music, they embrace these old sounds, too. While the opening, album-titled track sounds like about 30 seconds of euro-sleeze Hi-NRG stuff with German vocals over it all, the second track is a strange, acappella German rap. It's all sampled and sequenced and is catchy as hell, but it doesn't nullify that the track is still silly as hell. After this strange start, the group gets even weirder on "RNAY," when the old-school computer sounds really kick in. Sounding like a really really cliched 80's instrumental, it's kitschy in a my-first Sony sort of way. After a somewhat boring fourth track, the group really lets things go with "Ballonx." If you ever played the old 8-bit Nintendo system as a kid (or even recently), this one is going to bring back memories. It literally sounds like it could be the tricked-out theme to any number of anonymous games for the old system. Ah, the memories. This sound continues on the next track for what could be a super hopped-up version of a Nintendo theme that you can't quite put your finger on. It's great and will have you itching to kick your Dreamcast or Playstation aside in favor of a good old-fashioned game of Metroid or Castlevania.
Like I said before, though, these guys' cheese might just have slipped off their cracker and they don't stop there. "In Rock 16-Bit" again takes the old-school sound approach and jacks it up in sort of a nutty headbanging sort of way while "Dachzeigelkauer" sounds like they kidnapped Patsy Cline, force-fed her helium, then made her sing over trip-hop beats. "Kabelfreaks" is another track where the duo sings German against more of that light sound, and it's quite catchy again. "Udo5" almost sounds out-of-place on the album due to it's thick, slow beat and almost serious tone, while "Weilnachten Auf Hawaii" sounds like bad island karaoke.
Basically, this is one seriously strange album. The great thing about it is that it definitely has its moments and is actually quite catchy more often than not. If you were (or are) a serious old-school video-game nut, it will probably help a little bit in how much you identify with many of the songs, and some people may simply find the level of weird-ness too high for their liking. Seriously blip, bleep, bloop music, but quite fun.