It was a year which saw British and US troops deployed to Iraq to fight the ‘war on terror’; the Queen Mother shuffle of this mortal coil; the Enron saga unfold and, lest we forget, the very year that the lives of The Osbornes debuted on our TVs. 2002 seems a world away, now, and in music, it’s almost light years in the past. Take the number 1s of the year: Daniel Beddingfield’s infuriating, 'Gotta Get Thru This'; Las Ketchup’s, cleverly titled, 'The Ketchup Song'; Blazin’ Squad’s faux gansta anthem, 'Crossroads' and, who could forget, the pop majesty which was X Factor reject Darius’ first opus, 'Colourblind'.
One of 2002’s most understated releases was ‘Mastered by Guy at the Exchange’ by Ben Jacobs, aka, one Mr Max Tundra. Although a little cluttered in places, it was, nonetheless, a little treasure of a record. It was easy to believe that he was rejected by one record company for having too many ideas, what was so perplexing is why he wasn’t signed on this virtue alone.
After a six year hiatus, Max Tundra has returned with yet more effortless kitsch and mind melting musical complexity in the form of 'Parallax Error Beheads You'. From start to finish, it’s a non stop fantastical, joyous journey through electronica and all peppered with every conceivable nuance that the genre seems to have. From Tundra’s obvious affection for 80s computer glitches, poppy drum loops and synths, it certainly makes for an interesting listening experience.
From the jazzy inspired intro ‘Gun Chimes’, to the head buggering jiggery pokery of ‘Orphaned’, right through to the sprawling closer, ‘Until We Die’ which goes more places in 11 minutes, than some bands go their whole career. There is a veritable wealth of variety on offer within this record and the attention to detail on every track is staggering its design.
Occasionally the flourishes employed on the album do seem a little to over cooked, but everything seems to be applied with such affection, it becomes difficult to dislike what you are hearing. Max Tundra has a wonderful line in eccentric, eclectic, colourful little ditties and this album is no exception. Another accomplished effort.