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Rubber Band Banjo - Synthetic Biology

  by Adrian Huggins

published: 14 / 8 / 2010

Rubber Band Banjo - Synthetic Biology
Label: Fringe Biology Recordings
Format: CD


Fine combination and use of oddball real and home-made instruments on fifth album from multi-instrumentalist and enigmatic electronic musician, Rubber Band Banjo

Part experimental music and sound journey, part outer space based film track ‘Synthetic Biology’ is the fifth album by self-confessed biology geek and multi-instrument making and playing composer Rubber Band Banjo. The music covered by the artist and throughout this album ranges from sci-fi jazz, which is exactly how it sounds, to drum 'n' bass and includes an ever increasingly popular influence/style which is that of the video game. It would be naïve and elitist to discount the influence of video games in this day and age and more and more you hear of artists, and not just the way out experimental, marking computer games and themes as big influences to their songs and in this case their actual sound and make up. After all there are plenty of songs based around films and TV and in 2010, which is quite frankly a ridiculously futuristic sounding year to me, then it is obvious that this other medium of entertainment would begin to have a much more blatant influence over artists. Track 3 ‘Terraforming Planet DIY Bio’ is the first song on the album that starts delving into the song sphere rather than electro technology based soundscaping. Bridging a gap between dance and even light drum 'n' bass, it has a real edge to it and brings as much of a human touch to it as you would expect from such an album. 'Circuit Bender' carries on in this vein and goes more along an experimentally dancey edge with its ringing synths and beep laden rhythms which builds up and up and sounds like a more spaced out version of Fuck Buttons. ‘Bugs and Biofuels’ has a sort of outer space alien version of tribal drums running throughout it and truly sounds like the part of a film where the main robot has just figured everything out and is making some A-Team-esque plan to get the baddies back. Using an array of existing instruments that don’t normally together on record like electric drums, Kaoss Pads and Moogs, Rubber Band Banjo uses these to their full effect rather than just employing such tools to add sounds here and there to the music. Along with these is of course the inclusion of the homemade three-stringed rubber band synthesisers which add to the unique vision and sound of ‘Synthetic Biology’. Ambient and forward thinking, yet encapsulating it sounds very much like the robot cousin of Boards of Canada working on over drive. Whereas a lot of what may be deemed as “experimental” music can take a bit of listening to ,‘Synthetic Biology' manages not just to have a real android feel to it, but to be music made by machines with the feelings of a human. Data would be proud.

Track Listing:-
1 Synthetic Biology
2 Chase Scene Through DNA Wo
3 Terraforming Planet DIY Bio
4 Circuit Bender
5 Bugs & Biofuels
6 Self-Assembling Virus Spacesh
7 Dark Matter of the Genome
8 Human Engineered Pathogen

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