New Max Tundra – “Which Song”

Ben Jacobs, aka Max Tundra, is about ready to release album three Parallax Error Beheads You, the first since 2002’s Mastered By Guy At The Exchange. It took a long time because the man’s meticulous. A fact that should be well illustrated by first available track “Which Song,” which I was going to describe, but think this bit from Owen Pallett more than does the trick:

Max and I met in Barcelona in 2005 at Primavera Sound. His slot was at 4am. He put on a mask, wrapped himself up in tape, and played forty minutes of music made mostly using Amiga sample tracker software from the late 1980s. There was virtuosic melodica playing, Pointer Sisters-style singing, and an eight-minute version of “So Long, Farewell” from The Sound Of Music. I was wasted and ended up passing out on a beach in my underwear. When the sun rose, I woke up with dried merengue and sand glued to my hair, and in a daze, I realized that I had just witnessed nothing less than the best music performance of my life … It is dance music, it is discourse, it is teen sex comedy, it is a video game, it is a dance troupe, it is a thirteen course meal with Amontillado.

And that was promotional material, but promotional material that got it right. You might also be reminded of an amphetamine Kelley Polar love song. Listen:

Max Tundra – “Which Song” (MP3)

For the tech nerds, Jacobs notes:

There are no modern-day computers on this record. My PC is strictly for emails and Photoshopping the words Max Tundra into Coldplay line-ups. The main technology behind this and all of my albums has been the Commodore Amiga 500 – bestselling home computer at the time – running a $1 public domain software tracker program. The sounds don’t emerge from the Amiga itself however; the machine is used to control various synths, samplers and the like. I look at colums of numbers all day on the screen of a black and white television; these digits relate to pitches, durations and tones. A lot of the noises on my record are real; the cello, bass guitar, drums, piano, trumpet and others are all rehearsed and played by me, but sometimes I will use realistic fake versions of these noises. Each song is recorded in a different way; drumkits are recorded on mono cassette recorders twice, then stuck together on the left and right of a mix; string arrangements are planned and then layered up; each note of an electric guitar is sampled so that it can be sequenced in ways too complicated for my fat fingers to play at full speed. And then I have a cup of tea and sing my heart out.

Again, promotional/helpful.

Parallax Error Beheads You is out 11/18 via Domino. There are also some live dates, where you can witness some of the above in action:

10/05 – London, UK @ LSO St Luke’s %
10/23 – Southampton, UK @ Guildhall #
10/24 – Cardiff, UK @ Cardiff University #
10/25 – Liverpool, UK @ Liverpool Academy #
10/26 – Leeds, UK @ Academy #
10/28 – Sheffield, UK @ Sheffield Academy #
10/29 – Birmingham, UK @ Birmingham Academy #
10/30 – Cambridge, UK @ Corn Exchange #
11/01 – Manchester, UK @ Apollo #
11/02 – Glasgow, UK @ Academy #
11/03 – Leicester, UK De Montford University #
11/05 – Brighton, UK @ Dome #
11/06 – London, UK @ Brixton Academy $
11/07 – London, UK @ Brixton Academy $

% w/ Juana Molina
# w/ Hot Chip
$ w/ Hot Chip and Wiley

Tags: Max Tundra