808 BIT

The Fairlight Children are Stephan Groth (Apoptygma Berzerk mastermind), Tiff and Marianne B; and this is their debut album – “808 Bit”. If I tell you that one of their tracks is a cover of “Bedsitter” by Soft Cell, you might get an idea of were this is heading. Their music is largely based around that early Eighties style of electronic music – very quirky, poppy and quite analogue-sounding. The use of classic machines such as the MS-20 and the 808 (of the title), plus vocoder also give this album that disco-era kind of feel.
The music presented here has that feel-good factor common of the music of that time – so creating an atmosphere of pure poppy electro. It has its charms. Tracks such as the opener “Electropulse” and “Falling out” reek of nostalgia, which is no bad thing – all anologue swirls, whoops and vocoder voices.
Unfortunately, some of the tracks, although pleasant, don’t actually seem to lead anywhere. There are more good tracks here though; “Invade My Heart” has a nice old-school beat backing (think classic era hip-hop and you get an idea). “Microhard” is a nice track – very early Kraftwerk in approach, but with a definite tongue-in-cheek use of sounds that makes it that little bit special. It is just a shame that sometimes through trying to stay faithful to the old sounds, some of the instrumentation and samples sound a bit dated and don’t really come across to well.
It is nice to hear some of the sounds used again though, such as the old squiggly bass lines and the old electronic snare and high-hats, and I especially enjoyed the old computer game crash samples. “Windshield Wiper” is an instrumental playing with those ideas, probably the most satisfactory for me – sounding like the future, as we once defined it in the 1980’s; all silver suits and shiny metal technology. Aah, those memories! “Bedsitter”, the Soft Cell cover, is another highlight of this set – very boppy, very electronic, and something that you don’t often get in electronic music these days – fun! You get the impression that this group has a knowing naïvity towards their music, and because of that there really is a lot of fun to be had through listening to it – especially the title track (which I love)!
Not an album to sit and think about too deeply – but definitely a good way of putting a smile back on your face – this is a welcome return back to the times when music was all about child-like experimentation, and having fun. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with that!