Gangpol und Mit

The 1000 Softcore Tourist People Club

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Gangpol & Mit are graphic designers as well as sound artists, with a mischievous, blocky style that stretches to their music. While The 1000 Softcore Tourist People Club isn’t quite as ambitious as their last proper album, the monograph/DVD set Faits Divers, it’s still quite a trip. This is the group’s first album released by Ipecac, and they’re a perfect fit for the label’s lighter, more whimsical side, expressed by artists such as Kaada. Like Kaada, as well as simpatico artists such as Tipsy and the Chap, on The 1000 Softcore Tourist People Club Gangpol & Mit craft quirky, globetrotting songs. Unlike those groups, though, the duo uses MIDI and live instrumentation for a sound that is intentionally cheap, instantly recognizable, and yet anonymous. Tracks such as “Welcome” and “The 1000 People Band, Pt. 1” are musical cartoons bursting with hyperactive creativity, but they and the rest of the album are too strange and mysterious to be merely cute. “The Enemy I Never Met” is half romantic chamber music, half spy theme, while the excellent “Browse at Night” builds from gamelan-inspired percussion to nocturnal theremins. Every track here is extremely evocative: “The 1000 People Band, Pt. 2”'s breezy faux-Latin pop suggests the Muzak playing in a no-tell motel on Mars, but things take a turn for the sinister on “The Softcore People Club,” where the music’s toy-like quality becomes deeply disturbing when combined with mechanical sexuality, and on the haywire musical contraptions that are “The Burial” and “From Your House to the Universe.” Yet when the softcore tourist sings “I’ll never be lonely again” on “The 1000 People Band, Pt. 3,” it’s revealed that all of these sordid doings were just a search for intimacy. Even without as many visuals as some of Gangpol & Mit's other works, their flair for storytelling makes The 1000 Softcore Tourist People Club a fascinating listen for their fans, as well as anyone intrigued by vivid, playful electronic music.

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