This is a gleeful, cheery offering. A million miles from the moody cultures of Inland, Kurt Dahlke‘s ’79 debuting ice-breaker, it’s all ruby-cheeked whimsy, paddling in the shallow end, sucking on plenty of easy ear lollipops. Knowingly going where most experimenters fear to tread, into a world reserved for elevators and on hold appeasement; in short , the land of the inoffensive ditty.Pyrolator is clearly having so much fun with it all too, playfully squeezing the melody to the max, spicing up the trebly tailoring with quirky animal ker-ching. It’s as if the soft-contoured scoops of tango on “Hal’ s Dream” or “Rush Hour in Singapore”‘s handclap/bamboo(zle) were adverts for nonsensical products floating out on carpets of helium, or MIDI jingles for some Eighties computer action punching the air with extra shoulder pads and pearly white synth ceramics. Once you get over the initial chintzy shock of it all, it begins to charm the pants off you. Wunderland unfolds like a kiddie’s colouring book chock full of finger-clicking shuffle ducks that join your dots… boogie woogie snakes’n’ladders that get your pixels dancing, incidentals that wouldn’t have gone amiss when Crocodile Dundee took a leisurely stroll through the streets of New York, or narrating a Julia Roberts’ Pretty Woman shopping spree (yes, yes Pretty Woman was the Nineties – but honestly, it was so ’80s, wasn’t it?)
Anyways, straight off the starting block, “Im Zoo” could be seen as something of a natural history progression from the pop-tastic foundations of his Ausland album. An animal farm with its hen-house squawks between Harpo hootings whilst someone plays a xylophone made of eggs. Gives me fond memories of a toy the kids had, way back in their googly-eyed days, that would count in manner of barnyard business; I can just imagine Kurt in his dressing gown, banging out this tune on something similar , throwing a cheeky wink here and there.That Wunderland sense of twee jiggery-pokery is pulling out all the stops, milking the genre for all it’s worth, verging off into “Gespräch Mit Der Erde”‘s robotic fairground repeaters, gliding that clappy canopy of hula-hooped goodness. Flinging spangles down the turrets of Bavarian fairy castles, with the milk bottle, gargle and alarm bell bizarreness of “Am Morgen & Ein Spaziergang” and its additional birdy song and bubbly key descends doing a “Louis the 14th” in your head. What’s more, when the main course is finished there’s a whole EP worth of extras to consume: one of which, “Pisang,” gives Blondie‘s “Rapture” a run for it’s money in 8-bit jungle woo woo wah’s.
I’m usually more at home with the difficult end of the musical spectrum: angst ridden noise, room-clearing doom-mongering etcetera; but the more I listen to these slinky rhinestones, the more bewitched I am -with a curious craving for a spinning bow tie and an animal mask or two.