Monday, February 5, 2018

“Farewell, Ringworld” C40
(Hylé Tapes)

I can’t get off this Ringworld soon enough. All this traffic …

Alright, I admit it, I was thinking of wrapping in that titular line bit from Upright Citizens Brigade (all hail Matt Walsh), but I think it’s gonna get totally blown. Probably because I don’t know anything about RINGWORLD, the book series, other than that it’s a pretty popular science fiction tome among the unwashed D&D nerd masses. I kid, I’m practically one of them, although I wash and I don’t play D&D. But I do love me some sci-fi! Just … not RINGWORLD. Haven’t got around to it. So I don’t have any in-jokes to share with you.

What I do know is that FAREWELL, RINGWORLD is spectacular. El Choop (by the way, I don’t get the name – that’s not a slight, just wondering) out of Bristol, THE UK, drops the dubnuts for the lugnuts, the SPACECRAFT lugnuts that you have to, you know, work on with tools so that you and your crew don’t instantaneously decompress or something. Meaning this: what El Choop does on FAREWELL, RINGWORLD is very synthy and not at all dubby, his usual MO, meshing oh-so-appropriately with outer space environs. Take for example the j-card visuals that serve as a starting point for your imagination – amazing, yes, bringing to mind EPCOT Center from the late1960s or early 1970s (even though the theme park opened in 1982), but every group picture of a crew always foretells disaster. El Choop predicts the disaster (whatever it is – again, RINGWORLD virgin here) in his tense synthesizer compositions, recalling the ubiquitous STRANGER THINGS score but set in space. This is the soundtrack for takeoff, docking, quick dashes from local law enforcement, secretive meetings in clandestine locations, offworld transactions, and spaceships, spaceships, spaceships. I could live in this music – it’s what I dreamed as a kid would be our reality right now.

Sadly, our reality is our reality, but it takes artists like El Choop to help us engage our imaginations and bring us back to that innocent time when we were young and the future was ours. Is that nostalgia? Yeah, maybe, but so what. You can tell a million stories with FAREWELL, RINGWORLD as the background and none of them would ever be boring, ever be anything less than gripping escapist fantasy. That’s important when you need something other than, pft, “real life.” Forget it – you might as well spin yarns about having incredibly important lines in wildly popular films if “real life” is where you’re rooted. El Choop’s giving you an opportunity to live a little bit in your mind, in your heart – take that opportunity and run with it. Or launch with it, or whatever space verb you want to apply here.

El Choop
Hylé Tapes

--Ryan Masteller