Bonggita – The Bonggitaria Incident
Some synth wave pop loveliness direct from Twitter to Ioan Humphreys, reviewing for Louder Than War.
Over the last year or so I have been increasingly obsessed with electronica music, electronic soundtracks and in particular synth wave. I have reviewed a few over that time and have recently been (gently and politely) accosted on Twitter by someone by the name of Bonggita.
Bonggita wanted me to check out the new EP that they had produced. Looking at the profile pics, I could see that they had a garishly designed moniker with an ’80s inspired font that just screamed of synth soundtracks to ’80s films and arcade games. I couldn’t wait to hear it.
The opening song to this six track EP is Looming and it is a triumphant euphoric throb that has wind instruments and a definite John Carpenter-esque feel to its subtle chord changes and analog synth sound. It’s slow burning and just a joyous track.
Purple Mist has a really glitchy element to it that bring it right up to date and away from it’s Tron soundtracky feel. Not that that is a bad thing though as the arpeggio electronica and the melodies take you to places that you weren’t expecting and one gets suddenly sidelined by a start/stop segment when you least expect it. Again, it is joyous and increases the serotonin levels tenfold!
The intriguingly titled She Devours is atmospheric and has a Penguin Cafe Orchestra esque use of a dialling tone that helps create the several layers of sound that build up and up.
The EP title track is again experimental, but this time it has a definite playfulness around the base chords that brings a smile to one’s chops. This is the fabric of the song, until it goes on a completely different tangent and you are taken on an intergalactic journey to god knows where.
My heart sunk when i saw that the second to last track on this so far brilliant EP was a cover of Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart. As a Joy Division song it’s not one of my favourites, but it’s probably their best known work, so I listened with a certain amount of dread. Jesus how wrong could I be?
The track starts with a luscious drumbeat and progressive electronica that bears no resemblance to the original whatsoever. But as the track tacks on a life of its own, the familiar tune from the original creeps in and Bonggita takes it on a journey I’m sure Ian Curtis would have approved off. It’s a euphoric experience, but it’s also a positive experience. I hate the ‘genius’ word, but this comes close.
The last track is again a slow burning affair that just seems to revel in its synth wave loveliness. Just a beautiful way to finish this great EP.
This type of music is progressive, yet retro. It has a heart, yet it is completely computer driven. It absolutely works. This music may not be for everyone and to be honest I wasn’t a fan at first. But it creeps up on you and you can’t help but get caught up in the positive vibes you get from it, as well as the unbridled love of yesteryear that drives this movement. And on top of all that, it’s just bloody good music! Have a listen now!
Words by Ioan Humphreys. More writing by Ioan can be found at his author’s archive.