Katsen - It Hertz!
Insert coin! 1UP! It’s time to play with Brighton’s casio-cuties Katsen. Plagued by chronic stage fright, their live performances are extremely limited so the best way to check out their blend of krautrock, chip-tune and pop is on this disc, one that will have joysticks up and down the country primed and ready for action.
It Hertz! spawns a world from your speakers where astroblasters meet peaceful piano loops, robots make love with Ferraris, baby Ferbots do the deed with lawnmowers - who go on to open a dry-cleaners in Guilford. Or something like that. It’s all a bit crazy, flailing like an convention for epileptics mistakenly held at a strobe light factory. The constant throughout is the monotone android vocals from either Donna or Chris: ‘I’m a Doctor’ is an early highlight with its hi-tech meets lo-fi aesthetic, like an electronic version of Prinzhorn Dance School with its repetition of pedestrian subject matter.
Continuing the repetition theme, ‘There Is An Island’ plays out like like a set of babushka dolls: “There’s an island in an island in an island, with a camera taking photos of photographs” perhaps pointing a finger at the dilution of quality in the re-branding and re-packaging of western culture. Or maybe it’s just a great stylised lyric. As ‘What You Want’ starts I keep expecting Brian Cant to come into view, so authentic are its 70s kids TV credentials. There’s also a fantastic cover of The Pixies ‘Cactus’ executed with squelchy electronics overlaid by yet more mechanized dialogue from Donna.
Katsen met back in 2001 bonding over Donna’s crazy collage covered mix-tapes (check out the feline-frenzy in the top left) and it’s apparent that as genres collide, her experience of track flow is one of their strongest assets. Incredibly, with such an ambitious list of ingredients the final result is a sumptuous feast of electronic pudding.
High score achieved. Level complete!