HEY, RUBE! ‘Can You Hear Me Mutha?’ (Steel Tiger Records)
Well, this is a polished little excursion through electronic (and more) musical genres isn’t it. Anyone would think this is the outpourings of creative minds involved in digi/analogue-ism for decades. Oh, er, hang on, it is. It’s only Stephen Mallinder and Steve Cobby, but, I wouldn’t recognise those two clown faces anywhere! All making sense of-a-sorts now though and after looking up Hey, Rube! on the ol’ Wiki-thing seems it’s an old slang-phrase used by Carnies as a rallying call.
I’d heard a while back Mal (yes, THAT one, he of Cabaret Voltaire who continued to mould many twitching mindsets through forward-thinking changes of CV and more over, well.., a long, long, life-line) was back from the Land of Aus. and here he is partnered by the once Fila Brazilian/FON-folkian Cobby. Judging by the cover these two are not wanting to live off past merit and their debut gang-fight is pretty intense, serious stuff. Dressing up like a clown is no laughing matter, just ask Malcolm Middleton!
Time has to be key. Quick one-liner immediacy is not the order of Can You Hear Me Mutha?’s Big Tent extravaganza. Take some time. Peaking through the canvas Mutha? bubbles through intoxicating electronic licquors and so far over four or five performances I’ve discovered sensual funk, dense, downtempo grooves and outtastellar dub, all laced with rolling percussive repetition and vocals in various states of machined disturbance. Track titles are playful; ‘Rob A Bank Rob’ (highly rhythmic, bass-ladened and multi/multi-layered), ‘Mengi Dem Disco Leggi’ (stabby sequential, disco-distorted; Bambaataa?), ‘Pimpdaddy’ (hypnotic and sleazy, of course), ‘Kamikazee Peloton’ (downright dub, made for Mal’s unmistakable lowslung whispered voice) and ‘Shaz—–Tate’ (jazz-loop mania, not unlike the very best Barry Adamson) which actually departs with their worded “Can you hear me Mutha?” raison d’etre.
Given longer space-continuum am sure there is more rooted within Hey, Rube! (the punctuation is important) but is all I have reeling through this headswell presently. Perversely after just 3m43s of ‘Bali Hai’ it all suddenly stops. At this point of silence I imagine their red-nosed painted faces, smirking and saying “You want more? We’ve got loads Muthafuckers, but you’ll just have to wait”! No doubt, I’ll be there, front of queue.