Tronics

What's the Hubub Bub

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A deeply obscure gem of the post-punk era, Tronics were a London band that served mostly as a vehicle for outsider Ziro Baby's strange, raw vision of rock & roll between 1979 and 1984. As enamored with Bo Diddley as they were wtih the burgeoning, noisy experiments of the post-punk scene, Tronics released several singles and cassettes in their time, bounding between zany collages, dark acoustic punk love songs, and post-punk anthems like the long-coveted "Shark Fucks" single, a classic among the Messthetics scene. With the re-release of high-water mark album Love Backed by Force in 2012, a whole new audience got to experience the remarkably obscure Tronics' sound at its best, and the craving for more of their largely impossible-to-find material grew in many listeners. What's the Hubub Bub originally appeared as a cassette-only release sometime in 1980 or 1981, though the details are unclear. Much like Love Backed by Force, its 12 tracks are a strange mish-mash of insular home recording, stripped down due to necessity and lack of resources. Ziro's tunes here range from the wild, rudimentary punk blues thumping and noodling of "How Do You Do Again" or "Hard on Me" to fuzz pop minimalism. The strung-out fuzz of "I'm a Diver" presages the threadbare guitar tones of Spacemen 3 or Jesus & Mary Chain, while "Galaxy Bar" PTs. 1 and 2 rely on gruesome, wounded synthesizers and "Space Message" is little more than a minute of distorted industrial tones with voices underneath. There are a few lengthy collage pieces, and the oddball would-be show tune "Alone," but mostly, What's the Hubub Bub finds Tronics in a very specific mode of primordially spare rock & roll, with beats provided by a single drum and Ziro's tiny, underamplified electric guitar providing the entirety of the arrangements. Without sounding exactly like either, Tronics call up the sound of the Velvet Underground at a gig where most of the band forgot to show up, or a far more punk prediction of the ungodly racket that the Gories would grow out of Detroit concrete almost a decade later. It's based in rock music in a way, but coming from an artist unconcerned with anything besides the most immediate line from his inspiration to its expression, the results are bizarre and almost inhuman at times. Truly wild, peerless, and completely essential to anyone with even a remote interest in outsider music.

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