Packing up all of my plumbing supplies into my car, I said good-bye to Mrs. Peach, climbed into the driver’s seat and drove off, only to be paid another measly amount to take care of a clogged toilet. As I merged onto the highway, my head immediately turned to the nearest mildly-entertaining/losing-control-of-the-car-evoking activity on the planet: picking out a CD. I picked up my rather large CD wallet, capable of smuggling a decent sized marsupial out of Australia, and fumbled around rather haphazardly trying to find an adequate muse to forget my mundane existence. I chose I Am Robot and Proud’s The Electricity In Your House Wants To Sing, for I felt in the mood for adventuring into new sonic territory. It proceeded to play, yet I only made it about 5 seconds into the first song.
When I regained consciousness, I found my coupe to be smashed into a giant green pipe the size of an old fashioned department store. Still woozy and quite disoriented, I woke up to find myself still in the uniform I had been wearing. Where was I? What happened? In the corners of my ears came the faint sound from above. It was the CD I played in the car, still on the same track I was playing when I blacked out. The smooth piano syncopation calmed me, and provided a great backdrop for exploring this new world. There was a box, seemingly shouting “Screw you Newton,” as it floated freely above my head. I had the most undeniable urge to just jump up and hit it with my fist. When I did, out came a man-sized power mushroom, which, after being eaten, turned me into a giant. Right after my growing pains, the calming piano backdrop stopped, and an explosion of multi-instrumental polyrhythm took its place. I looked behind me and I ran.
I high-tailed it out of there as winged turtles dive-bombed me in synchronization to the incomprehensible harmony of a soundtrack playing underneath this chaos unfolding before me. In that instant, a flashing star rolled by. Choosing between a horde of rabid rampaging reptiles and a shiny, bouncy smiling star wasn’t too hard of a choice to make. Yet, as I ran toward the star, I tripped. My impending doom was about to catch up with me. I braced myself, but got nothing. When I opened my eyes, thousands of upside-down turtles were wagging their legs uncontrollably trying to grasp onto some ground. Lucky me. I resumed my pace and eventually found myself at another giant green tube. It could lead me back to my car. Down I went.
The tube led me to a cavern, in which I found a copy of The Electricity In Your House Wants To Sing. This was what got me into this crazy trouble in the first place. I opened it up and read the booklet:
“The master engineer behind I Am Robot and Proud, Shaw-Han Liem, a Toronto native with praise from his 2003 release Grace Days, has created a whole new world of Electronica in The Electricity In Your House Wants To Sing where all of the creatures dance and trot to the rhythm of their own beat, but always meet in harmony. This eleven track microcosm of polyrhythmic pop will venture you through this wonderful world.”
That’s it. I’m in this crazy electronic world, or whatever. All I have to do is get through each level and I’m good. I’ve already gotten past that first one. Only ten more to go.
Level 2: Relatively calm, with only a few funky monsters waiting around for me. Level 3: I soared with the melodies over this place, but halfway through they started getting heavier and dragged me down into a crash landing. Level 4: I suddenly burst into a beatnik coffee bar from the ’50s—a nice change of pace from those pesky monsters… Level 6: The acoustic guitar gave everything more of a rustic brown look. The sky was a lot darker, but the trees were white? Level 7: The basic beginning rhythm of jumps continues throughout. Pretty easy, just don’t fall down the pits. Level 8: The underwater marine environment made the music echo, giving it a ripple effect. Level 9: Elevator to Shaw-Han Liem’s lair, the steady beat of floors passing below my feet accompanied the hypnotic footwork of my foes. Big fight near the top of the shaft. Level 10: A haunting vocal chorus emanated throughout the halls of Shaw-Han Liem’s castle. Level 11: Shaw-Han Liem, face to face. I expected an epic battle of good and evil, but he seemed rather complacent and absorbed into the notes coming from his keyboard. I could have chopped down the bridge with the swift kick of the axe, but nah. He doesn’t deserve that. I left the castle.
I woke up and found myself in the parking space outside my apartment complex. My car was off, but the stereo’s lights still glowed, signaling the end of a song with the number 4:23. I went to pull the keys out of the ignition so I could spend another day waiting by the phone for another crapper to fix. On second thought, nah. I turned the ignition again, and pressed play on my CD deck. I only made it 5 seconds through the first song.
The Juan Maclean – Less than Human
Jaga Jazzist – What We Must
Out Hud – S.T.R.E.E.T. D.A.D.