Corrugated Tunnel
Chainsmoking Mini-CD

Edwin James is another offshoot from a seemingly thriving Irish electronic music scene. His current project Corrugated Tunnel offers a journey through some recordings that were originally meant to be the acoustic backdrop to a film.

Quite what happened to the film in question, the official release text for this mini-CD does not say, so we are left wondering. There is in fact a video file in Quick Time format on the CD that goes with the track "Darkgreyskies" and could well be related to the film. The video has been shot and produced by Ian Lawton, founder of the Freakneck record label this CD was released on, and depicts scenes of modern urban life in a very minimalist way.

After this brief excursion, let's move on to the audio section of the CD. Title track "Chainsmoking Monkey With Tears In His Eyes" (a hidden comment on the Irish smokers' ban?) starts off with layers of beautiful atmospheric sounds and a few beeps in the background that pave the way for a rhythm pattern seemingly based on a repeated run-stumble-fall scheme. As the song progresses, the arrangement changes from quiet parts to moments of unrest and back again for a couple of times. Astonishingly, the title track appears once again at the end of the CD, only this time it's the original version from 1995. The song structure of the early version is basically the same, though different sounds and rhythm parts have been used, and the production quality is not very good.

Zigzagging through the track-list, straight to track number two, titled "Breakin'". This is definitely more like dancefloor fodder, with its repetitive alienated bass-line, vocal samples and a stomping, yet uneven, drum rhythm. "Darkgreyskies" (as heard on the video track) is based on a distorted bass drum sound, a hectic arpeggiated sequence and lots of filter effects. It chuggs along happily like a steam-powered freight train in its shiniest colours.

Then there's "Timer", a live recording (though it's hard to notice). This tune starts out with a simple synthesized bass line and turns into a frantically forward moving track that represents the highlight of the CD. If asked what musical style Corrugated Tunnel should be filed under in the record shop, this would be a chance to drop the popular, yet utterly meaningless, name "Intelligent Dance Music" (as opposed to, well, stupid dance music?).

(rh 03/MMV)

Label: Freakneck

>> Corrugated Tunnel website

Like a freight train in its shiniest colours