Australian Testing Labs Inc. – Music For Aircooled Motoring

Australian Testing Labels Inc. - Music For Aircooled Motoring

Australian Testing Labs Inc. – Music For Aircooled Motoring

Although Dom Martin’s Polytechnic Youth and Deep Distance imprints were set-up – in parallel to The Great Pop Supplement label’s kaleidoscopic but now-defunct operations – to respectively capture the sounds of minimal-wave electronica and all shades of krautrock, the borders between both enterprises have become increasingly porous.  Which is nothing to get het-up about, as sonic constructions can’t always fit into neat genre-sealed boxes.  So whilst this debut LP from the awkwardly-named Australian Testing Labs Inc. could easily have come via Deep Distance instead of Polytechnic Youth, it doesn’t matter when the ear-warming results transcend the chosen label logo printed on its sleeve.

Although purportedly the work of a brand new artistic enterprise, insider intelligence and cross-referencing strongly suggests that Australian Testing Labs Inc. is yet another alias for the prolifically omnipresent Oliver Cherer, who has been criss-crossing the Polytechnic Youth and Deep Distance catalogues with The Assistant, Rhododendron and The Wrestler in recent times.  It would certainly make sense in understanding where the marvellous Music For Aircooled Motoring brought its refined sonic chops in from, perhaps more so than the slightly unwieldly attached conceptual premise that the long-player largely contains “music designed to cope with the noise of motoring in the VW Type 2 and Type 25 Transporter.”  Home-studio-assembled using vintage analogue synthesisers, electric guitar, bass, live drums and drum machines, the long-player serves up a mutated but meticulously-fashioned travelogue that should definitely appeal to devotees of Deep Distance and Polytechnic Youth alike.

The fifteen minute title-track begins proceedings in entrancing fashion and subtly revels in being a self-contained side-long piece, gradually opening-out as a cruising unashamed Neu!-meets-Autobahn-period Kraftwerk homage with its hypnotic bass-line, motorik Dingerbeat and utopian synthscaping.  Side two takes a looser more eclectic approach for the remaining six, also wordless, pieces.  Hence, “Auto Direkt” interludes like a brief bobbly soundtrack extract from an early-‘80s TV science programme before bleeding into the glistening La Düsseldorf-like drive of the majestic “Moto Moto”.  Gears shift again for the low-slung Rhododendron-esque asphalt-prowling of “Zundapp Joyride”; the robo-percussion skittering and synth-led fidgeting of “Cititroute Stop-Start”; the giddy “Heart Of Glass”-era-Blondie-goes-kosmische grooves of “Interflug ’82”; and the glowing glam rock vs. vintage Sheffield industrial-synth-pop of “Autostrada Olympica”.

Like many releases from the Polytechnic Youth stable, the idiosyncratic yet magnetising Music For Aircooled Motoring deserves to be owned and cherished by more than 300 quick-on-the-click vinyl purchasers.  Moreover, for a year that many didn’t want to begin so soon, this is a satisfying way to start 2017.

Polytechnic Youth