If the worlds of EDM, dance and electro-pop have always been seen as a place where style over substance is the norm, where the shallow and shiny out ranks the deep and meaningful, where the quick fix is preferable to music which makes you think, then Of Codes Off Course is something that you need to listen to. Opening with an intense and industrial-electro reworking of Bowie’s Hallo Spaceboy might, to many, seem like a clever and revolutionary move, but in light of all that is to follow, this seems like one of the albums less astonishing moments, relatively speaking.
Face Different shows just how widely referencing and deeply thoughtful Sobolczyk’s music is, taking fragments of a letter from William Blake, a constant source of inspiration, and turning them into a strange musical theatre soundtrack for a futuristic avant-garde production complete with a small sampling of Kate Bush as the song draws to its conclusion. More literary references abound with T.S. Elliot being the starting point for Smitten Kitten and more contemporary samples littering the tracks, from John Lennon to Tim Burton and from Jake Shears to cult group Maanam.
Living By My Flow is a beguiling reinterpretation of Freddie Mercury’s Living on My Own and Adamski’s Killer and if you are going to head into the mash-up/re-work territory you might as well end up with something new and radically different to offer. And this is certainly that. But despite the re-works and references, the samples and source material, Of Codes Off Course is nothing if not highly original. From the growling grooves of Rebel Swine to the compelling and creative Codes of Victim Behaviour suite of songs, it is an album that is ever musically shifting, that is chameleon like it its nature that apart from fleeting points of comparison to early post-punk electronic pioneers, alternative classical composers and off the wall soundtrack creators, it is hard to easily sum the album using generic labels or soundbites.
But that has to be a good thing, right? Music that hard to pin down is moving everything forward, taking radical new ideas and running with them into uncharted territory of potential and creativity. It also means that if you really want to understand what is going on in this gloriously uncompromising music, then you will have to go and listen to the album. Something that you should do right now.