Back in 1998 when Aural Innovations was in its early printed zine days I received the first of many submissions from the UK based Music & Elsewhere label. M&E was primarily a cassette label but this was a CD – the 1996 released Creavolution by Magic Moments At Twilight Time (MMATT). The first lines of my review, which appeared in AI #3, read as follows: “MMATT has recorded what for me is probably the first spacerock ‘n roll, dance party, sci-fi concept album I’ve ever heard. I mean we’re talking Hawkwind on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand”. When you receive 100s of submissions over many years it’s hard to revisit many of them. But Creavolution is one I’ve returned to periodically because… well, it’s just so damn FUN!
Mick Magic was a founding member of MMATT and also the M&E label head honcho. He’s been mining the archives of late, having recently released the Decadion 1 & 2 compilations which are two separate 12+ hour mp3 collections featuring a whopping variety of music from the 90s underground.
And now Mick has turned his attention to MMATT. Flashbax Ω Ultimate is a retrospective collection of MMATT music featuring all the different band line-ups with selections from their 1987-1992 cassette albums, just before work on the Creavolution CD began. The compilation consists of 18 tracks and over 2 hours of music. The first 12 tracks are available as a CDR for those who like physical products and comes with a download code for the entire package plus a 25 page PDF booklet that’s jam packed with band history (much of which reads like a sci-fi B-movie script), lyrics, track notes and photos.
MMATT’s music exists at the crossroads of the Space Rock, electronica, lo-fi homemade music, Punk and good ‘ol Rock ‘n’ Roll realms, though there is nearly always some kind of sci-fi element plus healthy doses of humor. The music often sounds like a Hawkwind meets John Carpenter soundtrack with a New Wave dance groove in the place of the Blanga. Razor sharp riffage is embellished by space electronics that flitter and dance about like troops of gurgling aliens. The synths often bring to mind droning drifting Prog sci-fi soundtracks and at times sound like tinkling video game melodies, and not uncommon are spaced out Punk-Industrial effects that recall the looped and phased freakouts that characterized the early Chrome albums.
We’ve got some great songs here. Among the highlights are the deep space Dub infused Torch song electronica of Pandora. Traveller II is a bouncy cosmic dittie with cool lyrics: “I am a Traveller II, I’ve been across this spatial void a thousand times or more. I’m greeted by the aliens with rockets labelled ‘Nuclear’ exploding at my door”. The aptly titled Blitzkrieg! is a punky chunky rocker with a cool combination of dirty metallic guitar and soaring synth lines. I love the propulsive good time sci-fi Hard Rock of Psychojolting, which is characteristic of everything I dug about Creavolution when I first heard it. And more fun lyrics: “I stand on the electro-floor. I feel the oscillators roar. The rumble turns my alpha on. So welcome to The Psychotron”. Ditto for the ultra-erotic Get Into The Dream Cream, which sounds like The Ramones gone Space Rock. Bewitched is an unrequited love song in the form of a disorienting but melodic sonic freakout. Acidic Heaven starts off as a killer slab of Hawkwind/Chrome ominously blazing Psycho-Space Rock but eventually lifts its spirits and veers into a high energy tripped out rocker. Magic Moments At Twilight Time is the bands ass kicking sci-fi Rock ‘n’ Roll Creavo-origin tale: “The story started years ago when came down from the skies. A craft of gleaming silver white, not seen by Earthman’s eyes. Aboard, an ageing scientist from some far distant world. From spatial peace he came amid this human madness hurled”.
There’s some gems among the bonus digital only tracks too. The 14 minute Xmas With Jody starts and ends like a radio play talking about the band’s origins, and all throughout we’ve got a Space Rock jam that’s like punky Hawkwind that’s extra heavy on the electronic efx action. The 33 minute Sister Jody is an all instrumental, relentlessly rocking Blanga freakout Space Rock jam that was the entirety of Jay Time’s audition in 1987. And we’ve got a promotional bit for Garry Lee’s Starship Overflow radio show that customizes what would become the opening Creavolution song.
In summary, kick ass sci-fi dance party Rock ‘n’ Roll freaky Psyched out Space Rock and plenty of good fun mind-fuckery are the order of the day on this outstanding retrospective from one of the UK underground greats that deserve all the above ground attention they can get. I hereby declare this absolutely essential. Because really… when all is said and done… MMATT just love that Rock ‘n’ Roll lifestyle.
To stream and purchase the download visit: http://klappstuhl.bandcamp.com/album/flashbax-ultimate
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for information on ordering the CDR
Visit the Music & Elsewhere/Mick Magic/MMATT web site at: http://www.mickmagic.net
You’ll find the Decadion collections I mentioned here too.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz