soFa starts us off with Milo Kolarov’s exercise in sonic imagery ‘Analogue Beam’, a story about animal characters, presented to us as distinct motifs of bleeps and blitzes. Next up is the surreal jigsaw puzzle dub ‘Totti und Pippo’ by Jah Limonardi Und Die KleineGräfinDubski. Here, we come bouncing on giant, iridescent mushrooms, lulled deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole by incantations of a child’s voice. Throughout, the record is full of these synaesthetic properties, immersing the listener in creative ways, nudging you down hidden experiential pathways. On the surface, soFa’s selections are pleasantly engaging, often blooming with charming grooves and whimsical melody. But then occasionally something else creeps into picture, some alien trace imbuing the unassuming tunes with a spectral strangeness. Take for example ‘Der KleineRoboter’ by VolkersMusikspiele. Here we’ve got a classroom of children performing a cheerful verse about being little robots, suspended beneath the droning of an icy locomotive synth. Two layers, subverting and transmuting each other.
On the B- and C-side, our host for the hour spins us into a 16-bit midi mania straight outta the 90’s Nintendo-sphere. PallaTemplouf’s ‘Ping enKeun’ evokes the ominous mood of unknown threats lurking behind every corner, while Jan Turkenburg’s ‘In Hyperspace’ takes us through uncharted galaxies searching for lost space-treasures. On the final side, we’ve gone through the chocolate factory and come out the other side a bit less dazed and a bit more habituated to the weirdness of it all. PM Production’s ‘Pêle-Mêle’ twists a non-sense nursery rhyme mantra around a trudging bassline, while Thomas Natschinksi’s ‘Robotertanz’ returns to the robot-theme in a 70’s-inspired, hypnagogic space-funk-ballad. One of the few songs on the compilation that actually sounds like something out of the vast rock-pop continuum we’re familiar with.
Elsewhere Jr I is a record that simultaneously infuses your reality with harlequin mystique and reminds you of what goes lost in the integration into the adult society. It’s both hyperreal and magical, with important lessons for young and old alike in an increasingly disenchanted world. Definitely something you haven’t heard before.