Late summer and a strange oblong object drops through my door, something that looks like its from the past but also futuristic in its look.
What was this baby blue in colour piece of plastic, wrapped in cardboard with a cover of a night-time cityscape?
Was it some form of secret message that only a select few that had been chosen could use and enjoy? Well kind of yes.
Luckily for me, being from a dim and distant past I still have the right technology to use said oblong object.
This was the new release from Pocket Lint a soundtrack album called Themes for Silcaville. It was released on cassette, yes cassette tape, the things that recorded the top 40 off the radio on a Sunday, John Peel Sessions, friends albums and of course could be used to create the famous mix tape that you could give to the new potential loves of your lives.
I popped it in my actual cassette player and I was into another world of subterfuge and mystery.
Themes from Silcaville is a soundtrack to an imaginary film set in a futuristic city. And to quote Pocket Lint properly it came with this description:
“The sounds themselves are inspired by John Carpenter’s early work, Moroder, and Vangelis’ Blade runner soundtrack.
I hope the narrative suggests itself from the music, but to help out, here is some background:
Set in a futuristic city run by arcane guilds, a stranger is invited in to investigate the disappearance of prominent locals. All of them are connected to the guilds, but can the stranger unravel the mystery or will the city shatter him like glass?“
Now here comes the weird bit, a few days after receiving this tape, I contracted Covid. Was this part of the plan? Was this a Mission Impossible type message? Was I sucked into the Tron aracade game or even entered the Matrix? I’m not sure.
Over the next few days I was quite ill, pain, headaches, feverish, loaded up on prescription drugs and all through this I played the tape and oh my it was a trip.
My recommendation to experience this album in all its glory, is late at night around 2am – in the dark with headphones on. Suffering from Covid is not advisable nor is taking lots of legal medication, but if you find yourself in this predicament then it can only help enhance the overall experience. If you happen to binge watch some of the films mention above beforehand this will also add to the sense of weird isolation, paranoia and images of Decker type characters going about their shady business.
In short what Marc (Mr Pocket Lint) has done here is create a modern indie version of his favourite sci fi/film noir films music – clearly and I’m sure he won’t mind me saying this – it’s not Vangelis but then what else is. But it works – it really works.
Like all good musicians Mr PL has taken something he loves and inspired by what has come before, pushed the boundaries of his musical nous and invited the listener to be part of it an almost become part of the story. It’s a fantastic achievement. Well thought out and packaged – this is what you don’t get from major labels or from streaming.
To be honest most of my experience of soundtracks revolves around a few films – there are no Vader type marches or Tarrantino speaches mixed with off the wall 70’s blaxploitation groove, there isn’t any singing on this album and each track merges into the next. It really does need a film to be made to complete the full circle – maybe it will.
However it does remind me a lot of my lost youth of watching countless B movies whilst I was bunking off from school – its got the Videodrome feel, Tron, Death Race, Scanners etc – the list goes on. It also owes I feel a lot to more modern film soundtracks including Sin City or the work of one time PWEI front man Clint Mansell especially on Moon and Pi. High and deserved praise.
Its brave, its interesting and it works.
I thoroughly enjoyed it and listening again today in the car (its now downloadable) it brought it all back to me and hopefully realise it wasn’t all a covid fever dream (or was it?)
Go check it out, you won’t be dissapointed.
The album is available via bandcamp:
Let me know what you think.