Cantaloupe - Monolith Cocktail


Cantaloupe   ‘Zoetrope’   (Hello Thor Records)   16th March 2015


Attuned to the same frequencies as previous Kosmiche music appreciation club members Stereolab and Broadcast, the Nottingham-based Cantaloupe follow a linage of UK groups who’ve paid homage and assimilated the transmissions that emanated from the visionary German scene of the 70s. That original source is transmogrified however, the quartet filtering the Cluster/Kraftwerk/Sky Records sound through the 80s synthesizer suffused Sheffield landscape of The Human League and the proto-progressive workouts of Holy Fuck and Adam’s Castle. The result is something both spritely and at times voguishly crystalline; turning either towards the Italo House meets Moroder neon candescent dancefloor or orchestrating a Theremin like quivered orbit.

Though in no doubt a contemporary record, Cantaloupe rely on appropriating and playing with a litany of influences from the past. The Zoetrope of their debut title is even a reference to the centuries old cylinder device that was used to display a sequence of drawings or photographs – the title track itself mirroring the cylindrical flickering motion of this pre-animation jalopy. Arguably each song takes a cue from one era or another, the fun early 90s post-rave nod to “chatback numbers” ads 0891 505050 being just one example. Apart from the obvious Broadcast/Stereolab leanings, especially when the group’s synth/vocalist Eleanor Lee woos and swoons on the sophisticated neon-tube lit Ambition, they lyrically hint towards Heaven 17, and when at their most buoyant, even make reference to the legendary Ghanaian highlife doyen K. Frimpong.

A most enjoyable pop-lit excursion through the kosmiche, taking in the industrial North’s steely resonation from the electric 80s, whilst popping off to take-in the post-rock locations that spawned such interesting, off-kilter explorers as Tortoise, Holy Fuck and Battles, and flirting with Afrobeat vibes, Zoetrope wear their inspirations well.

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