Thursday, August 25, 2005

Kompleksi review by Casionova, Australia

Tim Bray a.k.a. Casionova from Australia, a big Finland fan and a musician with a mighty arsenal of 80s Casio ware has written a review of Kompleksi's demo I gave him when he was playing in Tampere last September. Here is by the permission of its author the text originally published at

"August 25, 2005
Kompleksi Review
Filed under Things I Dig, Finland is F.A.B.!

Kompleksi are Mike Not and pHinn with guest appearances by other Finnish electro underground luminaries such as Unidentified Sound Objects, Polytron and the Club Telex Noise Ensemble.

Kompleksi are pure electro-trash, a genre I just made up now for Kompleksi but I am sure has already been used by cooler writers for uncooler bands. In case that has happened then how about electro-nasty? Being a fan of trash film and video nasties, (I saw Turkey Shoot this week - antipodean trash at its best - go see it, oh that's another review) I was drawn to Kompleksi not only because of their trash film references but they truly are a video nasty for the ears. Enlightened entertainment that doesn't give a rat's arse what the world thinks of it.

If you are a sad sad sad person and don't appreciate giant mutants or exploding heads then you may not appreciate the nuances of the Kompleksi sound, and your disposition is way too serious so go away now please.

Electro-trash/Kompleksi sound: finely crafted electro beats with synth riffage to DIE FOR (via the hands of zombified schoolgirls) overlayed with some very special vocal stylings. If your typical electro vocals are deadpan then Kompleksi have taken this a step further with undeadpan vocals. As in the living dead undead. If your mind works differently to mine then you could say they are incorrect vocals, with 'correct' vocals being the kind exemplified by those EVIL (insert your country here) Idol programs.

The Kompleksi vocal style is desperately needed the world over to mitigate the effects of (insert you country here) Idiot and could possibly make the cojoined Warner Brother twins gnaw themselves apart. These are the best incorrect vocals I have heard since the early nineties such as the GUY from The Sugar Cubes, (boy did Björk go downhill after she left that band!), and Tom Ellard of Severed Heads - in fact if you dig Severed Heads Kompleksi could be Ellard's mutant Lovechild.

Now for the songs:

'(I Ain't No) Lovechild' is a pretty cool track (smooth transition huh?),

'Porno Tampere' is a lovely downbeat ode to Kompleksi's hometown.

'Moscow 1980' is the hit single destined to rocket up the charts, if it's not on high rotation on MTV in three months then you can spank me HARD. Even if it is, you can still spank me HARD. This is the perfect tune to have in your ultra-cool record crate next to your Finnish version of 'Moscow Moscow (Volga, Volga)' (well, it is in mine). By the way, why the hell do DJ's cart their records around in shiny cases bought from DJ stores, when a milk crate flogged from behind the shops is the perfect size for LP's and has handles that don't break? Heh?

If you are a DJ with a SHINY CASE and care about the torque of your direct drive turntable then the 'SWT NG FCK THNG' is the track for you and your sweaty dancers. For the love of Zog though, don't forget to laugh!

Of course I cant forget to mention the excellent homekeyboard usage (an early Yamaha PS (03?) I believe) on 'Sarah Pain', awesome dancefloor goodness and glorious incorrect vocals on 'Spiders in the Sky', and the joyful sixties bounce of 'Son of My Father' with Jean Jacques Perry style synth - an electro lounge classic for our current mid-apocalypse world!

My favourite Kompleksi track is the Bowie tribute, 'The Only Star In My Sky'.

I will finish this review now because I'm typing it when I should have gone to hospital to get a drip stuck into me but couldnt be arsed making the trip so I am nauseous, delirious and the whole world keeps spinning around my head and listening to Kompleksi ain't helping things much.

Do yourself a favour and download a Kompleksi tune now, before the invasion fleet arrives. Oh and if you're a record mogul - please be a nasty bastard and release their music, we all know you will rip them off but at least the kids get Kompleksi in the record stores - vinyl please so the DJ types won't have to lower themselves to touch it. Thanks to pHinn for slipping me the Kompleksi Demo disc!"

- Tim Bray a.k.a. Casionova, Australia

By the way, the keyboard on 'Sarah Pain' Casionova mentions is the mighty Yamaha Portasound PCS-30 from the 80s (pic above), also used on the live performances with Club Telex Noise Ensemble (all available as MP3s at here). It was meant for kids and other people learning to play, and originally came with special cards (pic below) with the lyrics and notes of some standard tunes like 'Summertime', 'Edelweiss', etc., plus a magnetic tape on the card you could slide through the slot on keyboard, after which the keyboard started play the bass chords of said tune, and you could play yourself by following the lights next to each key... Sadly, I have missed the cards, so no more pre-programmed "Summertime" sessions for fun and delight.