As much a fan as I am of noise behemoths KOWLOON WALLED CITY, I’ll admit I’ve never felt the need to investigate bassist Ian Miller’s electronic project INTERESTING TIMES GANG, largely due to lacking a background or experience with the genre. Album number 6 (!?) though, and it warrants at least a cursory glance.
Unexpectedly, a lo-hi trip-country ala a sparser ALABAMA 3 leads off The Spirit Of Science Fiction with ‘Lago Agrio’. You can already sense Miller’s enjoying himself, playing with sound and technology just to see what comes out. The rainbow FUNKADELIC carpet is rolled out for ‘If You Don’t Wanna Play’, and I’m remembering watching rhythm kings & queens dancing down the line on Soul Train in the late ‘70s. There’s a feeling of nostalgia that permeates the record, ‘K Complex’ conjuring TANGERINE DREAM and VANGELIS through the medium of PORTISHEAD and BLACK BOX RECORDER, while ‘The Name Implies’ is glitchy-twitchy in an ART OF NOISE sort of way, all enjoyable.
The lurking, abrasive slink of ‘Rashomon’ could easily be heard as accompaniment to a David Cronenberg or Japanese body horror flick, some slightly (or very) off-kilter being approaching the viewer from the end of a doorless corridor, dank, dark and dripping. Conversely, ‘Here We Go’ is layered and insistent, samples ever-present and demanding. This is, I feel, where Miller shines with INTERESTING TIMES GANG – a veritable treasure trove of found sounds, samples of beats, film dialogue cut up and transformed to a nearly but not quite unrecognizable state.
With most tunes solidly within the 3-minute range nothing has a chance to overstay its welcome, and The Spirit Of Science Fiction, by the time ‘No Shade’ ends, seems very much a love letter to sonic exploration, making the album title perfectly fitting.
Review By: Lord Randall
INTERESTING TIMES GANG
The Spirit Of Science Fiction
4 / 6