I Monster – Bright Sparks

Electronic and synthesised music has a long association with Sheffield, and we’ve produced more than our fair share of musicians obsessed with its various incarnations, so where better to produce an album saluting its inventors and innovators than in Dean Honer’s studios in Netheredge. It is here that I Monster, themselves self-confessed addicts of all things Moog-related and melotron-influenced, have concocted their latest release, Bright Sparks. The group I Monster are a Sheffield institution. Well, they are with me, and some of the folks I know, even though a goodly number of them aren’t quite sure who they are, and are only aware that they are actually from round here because I told them. The new album pays homage to the largely unsung work of inventors and back room geeks who have shaped the world of music since the advent of electronic instruments in the Sixties. It is also the title of a forthcoming documentary, featuring interviews with those pioneers, without whom we’d not know our voltage controlled oscillators from our dual input ring modulators. It all might sound a bit dry but is nothing of the sort. It’s great fun and tells the human story behind the music, while using the very instruments that the songs are about. It’s like Peter and the Wolf for the electronic generation. ‘Music will never be the same, because you gave us the synthesizer’, sings Philip Loutsis on the opening track, in tribute to Robert Moog, and how right he is. They’re all at the party. The ARP 2500, the Buchla 100, the EDP Wasp Deluxe, and a host of other instruments that I’ll pretend I’ve heard of , but which I am sure will set someone’s pulse racing somewhere, as they made the sounds used on songs from everyone from The Monkees to Giorgio Moroder. 8/10

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