Ice Cream Mission to Mars - Ice Cream Mission to Mars

by Rich Morris Rating:8 Release Date:2013-11-20

A journey to Earth’s only natural satellite in a toy town rocket with Joe Meek and Delia Derbyshire by your side, this latest project by former Variety Lights man Will MacLean is as much a celebration of retro-future sounds as a sonic boom into space.

Although the likes of splendid opening number ‘Blast Off’ are full of squelching, screaming, farting analogue synths and atavistic drum machine beats, you’d be mistaken in thinking Ice Cream Mission to Mars is nothing more than an exercise in nostalgia. Other numbers, such as the title track and ‘Dr. Evermor and the Forevertron’, make full use of the sort of glitches and sonic battery one can usually expect to find on an Autechre release.

Thankfully, MacLean also has a winning way with a hook, meaning tracks such as the knowingly onomatopoeic ‘Loopteeloo’ and the positively swinging ‘Orange, Orange World’ are good fun even if you’re not a fully paid-up member of the synth anorak club. What’s more, only two tracks breach the three-minute-mark, meaning that even the more atonal numbers like ‘Planet Flipside’ and ‘BrickStix’ don’t outstay their welcome. Best of the bunch is the closing ‘Sleeping Dream Monsters’, a gorgeous ambient lullaby on which splashing synths and gently pattering beats rock you all the way back to Earth and into bed.

It won’t be to everyone’s taste, of course, but if you’re the kind of person who thrills to the sheer oddness of early 70s Doctor Who soundtracks (which I am), then Ice Cream Mission to Mars is a record you’ll want to take a trip with. 

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