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This weekend I’ll mostly be listening to… Fluke August 1, 2009

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
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Last weekend Shriekback, this weekend… okay, not necessarily Shriekback redux, but in Fluke, certainly a group which in its sound…

Okay, let me explain. About eight years ago someone loaned me a Fluke album, Oto. I had vaguely heard of them, and indeed had unknown to myself heard them in games, but I didn’t really know their material. Anyhow, listening to it my initial thought was that they sounded very Underworld like… and pretty good with it. Anyhow, about seven or so tracks in I suddenly heard a completely different influence.

Yep, the track Wobbler reminded me storngly early to mid period Shriekback. It’s hard to put a finger on it, but it’s there… a sort of intonation, a certain pace to the percussion. Not so much in the music as the vocals. Also with Freak and so on and so forth.

And why should this be a surprise, given that Barry Andrews, ironically the man some blame for the essential subsidence of Shriekback as a critically acclaimed outfit, produced Oto. With that I was listening to them very closely indeed.

But to see that as the sum total of their achievement would be to miss the wood for the trees.

As I said they have always had a hint of Underworld, a more famous, but not necessarily better band. I’ve always liked Underworld (particularly their first album which is a classic of its kind) but I much prefer Fluke. Added to that are techno, house and ambient elements and what one winds up is an accessible – if tracks that average 8 minutes in length can truly be termed accessible – but still sufficiently experimental to be interesting sound. That they tended to an anonymity typical of dance, but particularly pointed in their case is a further irony, because their music has been a part and parcel of contemporary culture from being found on the soundtracks for games like Wipeout to films like Sin City and the Matrix.

And that, to me, makes a degree of sense because there’s something very cool, very distanced about their sound. Hushed vocals set over strong beats. Sparkling keyboards. Bits of industrial. You know the drill if you’ve lingered anywhere close to this genre. And that sound also links back into the 1980s, with Moroder and Cabaret Voltaire being key influences. In a way perhaps the Shriekback connection points up that Fluke managed to be the band that Shriekback could have been in the 1990s.

They even had a track on the later Puppy album named “My Spine”… which might be pure coincidence, and yet again, might not.

They’ve sort of entered a half-life in the 2000s and a successor band 2 bit pie is meant to be more industrial. Can’t see much of a change in the sound to be honest.

So here’s the music…

Wobbler

Bullet

Here’s an alternative mix with a somewhat entertaining video… (btw they released 8 different CDs with various mixes of the track on them… like, it’s good, but it’s not that good).

Tosh

Freak

And from the subsequent Risotto album… the video of the very slightly industrial tinged ‘Absurd’…

Comments»

1. EamonnCork - August 4, 2009

What puzzles me about Barry Andrews is that a man whose work as a producer and performer was so groundbreaking has turned out to be a very unimpressive Minister for Children. Perhaps Mark Stewart or Alan Vega should have got the job instead.

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