Wrangler’s-LA Spark Is Out Now (Review) 2014

Wrangler_LA Spark

Cabaret Voltaire’s-Collected Works 1983-85 on Mute Records is a collection of their music from a small segment of the 1980’s. It is in those couple of years when I became a Cabaret Voltaire convert. Those were my formative years and their music was in the background often. The music of that collective is extensive (both as a group and separately), and encompasses a vast array of musical styles and disciplines.

Fast forward to 2014 and we have a new collective to talk about. A collective, or maybe I should refer to them as a group, known as Wrangler. The group is comprised of artists I greatly admire. Starting with Benge whom we know for his work John Foxx & The Maths or for his fantastic aural dreamscape- Twenty Systems. Then there is Phil Winter, whom I learned about in an article in Future Music, where he and Benge shared some pages. He is also in the group known as Tunng and a DJ. Which brings us to Stephen Mallinder, an artist I knew about at the start of my electronic obsessions. Mallinder is an original member of Cabaret Voltaire and now is in this amazing group. Between the three of these artists there is a lot to write about and listen to. Their combined output is sure to be mind-expanding and inspiring for any electronic aficionado.

First off, I’m kicking myself for not buying this on vinyl too.

So,what of LA Spark? When an album starts out with a theme it’s bound to possess large potential. Come on, it just does! Theme From Wrangler has been played in my Volkswagen CC for the past month. It was the free download you got when you pre-ordered the album. So, I was already at home with it and primed and ready for the entire album to be released. It served as the opening act if you will. And I was ready for the headliner!

The rest of the album tracks, continuing with Lava Land, LA Spark, Mus IIC, Space Ace and finishing off with Peace & Love (Edit) are divine.

This album is a sonic assault worth craving. Please give me more! It picks up where Cabaret Voltaire’s-Collected Works 1983-85 left off and finishes right here in today’s quagmire of an audio landscape. Though, it’s most definitely the type of sounds you could easily just pick out of all the dense electronic confusion.

I want to pretend it’s the type of music played in a discotheque in a Cold War Eastern Bloc setting had that war not ended and we had continued on with it in place. Yes, you could argue it hints at some type of dystopian setting. You see,sometimes we need more than graphic novels to provide us with some noir or dystopian vision. LA Spark could be just what we need.

The drum sounds are bombastic and sharp throughout.The low end frequencies on this album are monstrous. I’m talkin bout the bass, man! You could also say that about all those analog synthesizers used, and found in Benge’s studio (MemeTune Studios). The synthesizer sounds are like a slice of a good suspenseful nightmare. The strings on Lava Land are provided by a Logan string synthesizer. There are Moog’s (Modular), Roland synths and a whole array of other wonderful synthesizer goodness.

Stephen Mallinder’s effects-filled vocals are like something possessed or that of a controlled subject in a technology complex bi-polar world. Whatever it is, it works on this Wrangler album. LA Spark is a magnificent album that you owe it to yourself to listen to and obtain.

I know its only April, but so far it’s the best recording I’ve heard and the one I most anticipated. A close second would be the collaboration of John Foxx with Belbury Poly & The Advisory Circle. I’m talking about Empty Avenues by John Foxx & The Belbury Circle.

For a great interview with Wrangler be sure to also check out Electricity Club.


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