Something about Black Moth Super Rainbow releases makes all of them seem familiar. Maybe it’s because the basic overall sound of most of the band’s releases comes off like some weird amalgamation of muzak, Kraftwerk, primitive video game MIDIs, and the background music used in high school science education films from the 70s. The description is strange, but even stranger is the fact that despite the seemingly outdated simplicity of the sound as a whole, Start a People sounds remarkably crisp and fresh.
While this album may indeed be called Start a People, it seems the general theme is as much about death as it is life. Based on the tone of the songs themselves, it could be argued that thematically, this disc could represent an endless cycle of various takes on rebirth, regeneration, and/or reincarnation. Most of the disc is instrumental, and the few vocals that occur on the disc are very ambiently distorted. Still, the lyrics themselves are like primitively ambitious, poetically-minded thoughts on life that seem to center on the concepts of sunrise and sunset (i.e.: “The sun came up late / Tomorrow never came” from “Hazy Field People,” “Sunshine came late today / Sundown came late today / When we die, we go away” from “Vietcaterpillar,” or “There is death and love and awful things / The sunlight takes away all that it brings” from “Seeeds” [sic]).
Black Moth Super Rainbow is quite sensible about its approach to such an entangling lyrical vibe, though, as keeping both the music and the lyrics so incredibly simple (yet intriguingly layered) prevents the material from seeming heavy-handed. There’s nothing worse than ham-handedly bludgeoning a listener into thinking about topics best approached out of the realm of curiosity, and not forced necessity. This is the real genius to Black Moth Super Rainbow – the fact that every word and every note on Start a People is handled with a delicate, childlike demeanor that turns this set of recordings into something far greater than the sum of its meager parts.
The band has been dropping releases prolifically for quite some time now (before the Black Moth Super Rainbow name, this project had material released under the name Satanstompingcaterpillars), each with its own marvelous little musical glow about it. Various tracks appear on multiple releases in different forms (Start a People’s “Vietcaterpillar” and “I Think it is Beautiful That You Are 256 Colors Too” also appeared on the band’s Falling Through a Field disc), which makes it seem that these releases could all tie together in one big brain orgasm of a ‘plotline’ of sorts somehow. The problem with acknowledging such things is that it makes Black Moth Super Rainbow’s music sound brainy and difficult, when in all honesty, the band’s material manages to be quite carefree, upbeat and fun despite its thematic overtones.
The best possible way to even consider explaining Start a People for the masses? How’s this – imagine giving DJ Shadow an Amiga, an old school Casio, and an old 808 synth/drum machine and telling him to create a soundtrack to life and the reasoning behind human existence. Admittedly, Black Moth Super Rainbow’s style is something more cult audience-oriented than anything else, and it’s hard to imagine that any other artists are treading ground anywhere near this. Hell, it really doesn’t matter anyways – because if anyone was, it sure as hell couldn’t be as good as this.