Perpetual Motion Studios
The backstory is one I can relate to: Dominic Franciso, aka the brilliantly-named Space Monkey Death Sequence recounts how at the age of twelve he decided to fight sleep and watch more TV, with his channel-surfing landing him at the start of an episode of The Twilight Zone. The episode in question, ‘People Are Alike All Over’ stuck with him, but on revisiting it a decade later, the experience wasn’t the same – although this particular episode out of all of those he watched, resonated in a peculiar way.
I’ve long maintained that sleep is the enemy and is for wimps, and in this line of work, I find I’m not so much nocturnal as around the clock. Granted, I spent most of my teenage years watching weird shit, bad sitcoms, and late-night Channel 4 in the hope of something with nudity rather than The Twilight Zone, but I certainly get how these formative experiences are integral to a person’s development, and how returning to those experiences of youth will inevitably bring forth a range of emotions and that the sense of ‘same but different’ can be disquieting. It’s not the film or TV show that’s the issue, but the underlying sense of looking back into one’s mind as it was, from an adult perspective.
People Are Alike All Over is not an easy album to pin down, or to get into. ‘No Brain’ is a classic example of why this is: a difficult mash-up of bits and pieces, it lumbers from jazzy wig-out to hefty hip-hop beats, while sounding like the tape was spliced at random in a studio located in a coral cave half a mile under the sea. ‘All Brawn’ is a spaced-out, disorientating affair, and ‘I Think We’re Alone Now’ is not a cover of Tiffany’s 1987 hit, but woozy wobble of an instrumental with slithering, crunching extraneous sounds and anxietised samples (lifted from the episide of The Twilight Zone in question) incut.’Diaphragm’ is a Spartan dirge that calls to mind Movement era New Order and The Cure’s Carnage Visors, and elsewhere, ‘Funeral Pt I’ sounds like some weirded-out whale-song, a woozy drone of underwater depths, and a metronomic drum machine accompanies a fractal, chorus-laden guitar on ‘Leave’. Samples crackle away in the background as flashes of synth swirl around and pass like comets through the strangely uncanny soundscape before spiralling into almost drum ‘n’ bass territory.
People Are Alike All Over is unsettling and intriguing, and best of all, it’s inventive and atmospheric.