Poolside with Max Tundra (and Scritti Politti)
One of the surprises of SXSW that I failed to mention was my chance encounter with Max Tundra. It was Thursday night at the Music Gym, sandwitched between Columbus' Sandwitch and Columbus' Unholy Two, both crammed into the small 'club' area that resembled Popeye's apartment. Tundra was playing in the cut, out on the patio. Now I wasn't extremely psyched about seeing him, but by then I was a late-night weeble wobble and the crack-whores who were pouring drinks (they had to be crack-whores) would give you a plastic cup full of whisky for like five dollars. I guess crack-whores have good measurement when it comes to a hard-liqour "drink." Back to Tundra -- lots of people have sworn by him, even though he's made only one record in the last 5 years, but that one album has a gaggle of die-hard fans apparently.
His new album, Parralax Error Beheads You, brought him over the pond for some promotion. It must have been an easy trip, as a musician, for all he requires is his mini-korg synth-set and a handful of pedals and midi-switches. What he did in the course of 30 minutes was nothing less than a pop symphony. Akin to everything from Off the Wall disco-funk to the hyper-electronic hooked-on-classics vintage of Disney's Electric Light Parade (find it), but all very proper. His English accented anecdotes and banter could have been a diversion, but for some odd reason his cheeky demeanor was an adornment. The juxtapose between such slippery, hyperactive, beats and melodies and the somewhat fey professor vibe he was giving off worked a crowd that wasn't exactly sure if to dance or think. The guy's grown up in glitch and gabber, a British Kid 606 have you, but now I seem to think that what he does is closer to the new romantics and even closer to the shiny post-pop Trevor Horn would approve of.
Poolside? Because "Which Song" really reminds me of my all-time favorite Poolside -- Scritti Politti's "Perfect Way." Can't find a video for that one, so "Absolute" will have to do. It's a two for one today.