Mike Pike's "HOLOGRAMS" is a fantastic foray into 80's influenced synth explorations. Environments range from synethetic to organic, spaced out to dirgey, and dreamy to plodding and brutal - the tracklisting reads as more of a program than separate selections as each idea fluidly morphs into the next. Ideally used as a soundtrack to some thirft store sci fi paperback cheaps or an archaic video game. Two thumbs up to the rad packaging here - a teeny, puffy VHS-style case houses a single cassette and a multicolored insert.
The resurgence of the cassette tape is, in part, a by-product of 80s nostalgia. VHS and 8-bit games are gaining attention from a younger generation, while vintage synthesizer sounds are popping up everywhere from indie tapes to major label releases. Michael Pike’s project, Astrokade, seems to channel that nostalgia, both the good and the bad, into Holograms. At its best, the tape seems to draw inspiration from Harold Faltermeyer’s Fletch soundtrack and Frank Zappa’s Jazz From Hell. At it’s worst, the tape seems to draw inspiration from Harold Faltermeyer’s Fletch soundtrack and Frank Zappa’s Jazz From Hell.
Luckily, there’s more to the record than that, and Pike delves less into kitsch and more into sonic exploration. On these tracks there is contrast and depth, plus an excellent ability to sequence. If he sticks to his strengths on forthcoming releases, he’s bound to produce a personal record, worthy of repeated listens. Keep an eye on Astrokade.
The cover of this tape looks kind of like covers for the games you used to buy for your home computer back in the early ‘80s. My dad had decided that Acorn Electron would be the next big thing so we were left with a choice of Pacman and Space Invaders as an alternative to the home made ‘games’ me and my dad spent hours programming resulting in us watching a cursor go up and down the screen for 10 minutes.
The music contained within this is like a distorted take on the background music from some of the games of that era plus Gameboy music and the music that comes out of arcades at the seaside. Full of bleepy analogue synths, strange found noises and unusually for this kind of thing some pretty aggressive drums. And therein lies what I like about this release, it fairly blasts out of the tape player, the tape is completely saturated with sound, it's very chunky, dark and aggressive. It will appeal to fans of Rephlex, Ceephax Acid Krew and early Warp.
released September 1, 2013
everything by Michael Pike
mastered by Justin Weiss at Trakworx, SF