Black Moth Super Rainbow
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Black Moth Super Rainbow

Band EDM Rock


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This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"Start A People"

...Remember all the weird cartoons that ran on Nickelodeon’s “Pinwheel” in the early ‘80s? Back when “Pinwheel” was the only children’s TV programming on the air, and it ran for about 15 hours, bombarding you with enough uncomfortably sugary imagery yanked from the BBC to give your 5-year-old mind an existential limit-experience as much as entertain you? That’s the kind of paradox that Black Moth Super Rainbow evokes, quite viscerally... - Ann Arbor Paper

"Start A People - Pick of the Week"

Something about Black Moth Super Rainbow releases makes all of them seem familiar. Maybe it’s because the basic overall sound of most of the band’s releases comes off like some weird amalgamation of muzak, Kraftwerk, primitive video game MIDIs, and the background music used in high school science education films from the 70s. The description is strange, but even stranger is the fact that despite the seemingly outdated simplicity of the sound as a whole, Start a People sounds remarkably crisp and fresh.

While this album may indeed be called Start a People, it seems the general theme is as much about death as it is life. Based on the tone of the songs themselves, it could be argued that thematically, this disc could represent an endless cycle of various takes on rebirth, regeneration, and/or reincarnation. Most of the disc is instrumental, and the few vocals that occur on the disc are very ambiently distorted. Still, the lyrics themselves are like primitively ambitious, poetically-minded thoughts on life that seem to center on the concepts of sunrise and sunset (i.e.: “The sun came up late / Tomorrow never came” from “Hazy Field People,” “Sunshine came late today / Sundown came late today / When we die, we go away” from “Vietcaterpillar,” or “There is death and love and awful things / The sunlight takes away all that it brings” from “Seeeds” [sic]).

Black Moth Super Rainbow is quite sensible about its approach to such an entangling lyrical vibe, though, as keeping both the music and the lyrics so incredibly simple (yet intriguingly layered) prevents the material from seeming heavy-handed. There’s nothing worse than ham-handedly bludgeoning a listener into thinking about topics best approached out of the realm of curiosity, and not forced necessity. This is the real genius to Black Moth Super Rainbow – the fact that every word and every note on Start a People is handled with a delicate, childlike demeanor that turns this set of recordings into something far greater than the sum of its meager parts.

The band has been dropping releases prolifically for quite some time now (before the Black Moth Super Rainbow name, this project had material released under the name Satanstompingcaterpillars), each with its own marvelous little musical glow about it. Various tracks appear on multiple releases in different forms (Start a People’s “Vietcaterpillar” and “I Think it is Beautiful That You Are 256 Colors Too” also appeared on the band’s Falling Through a Field disc), which makes it seem that these releases could all tie together in one big brain orgasm of a ‘plotline’ of sorts somehow. The problem with acknowledging such things is that it makes Black Moth Super Rainbow’s music sound brainy and difficult, when in all honesty, the band’s material manages to be quite carefree, upbeat and fun despite its thematic overtones.

The best possible way to even consider explaining Start a People for the masses? How’s this – imagine giving DJ Shadow an Amiga, an old school Casio, and an old 808 synth/drum machine and telling him to create a soundtrack to life and the reasoning behind human existence. Admittedly, Black Moth Super Rainbow’s style is something more cult audience-oriented than anything else, and it’s hard to imagine that any other artists are treading ground anywhere near this. Hell, it really doesn’t matter anyways – because if anyone was, it sure as hell couldn’t be as good as this.

- Delusions of Adequacy

"Start A People - Editor's Pick"

If The Polyphonic Spree is essential to choral arrangement ensemble appreciators than surely Black Moth Super Rainbow is required listening to anyone enjoying ‘70’s children’s programming psychedelic soundtracks. Admittedly “Start a People” is an electronic band’s idea of growing up watching “3 2 1 Contact” and “The Letter People Show” and what kind of music fueled their rearing. So they’ve dusted off their analog synths and provide a psychedelic backdrop for abstract downtempo to latch onto. Easily one of the most imaginative and innovative releases this decade. Get it now.


"Black Moth Super Rainbow - Critic's Choice"

So gentle and lackadaisical they're almost negligent, so special they're amost retarded, BMSR reminds me of the days when people didn't treat children so much like children--when kids could still poke their eyes out with weird sharp toys and choke on small bits of plastic. The band's fizzy, mesmerizing synth tones shift and waver like a choo-choo whistle in the distance, swirling into never-ending psychedelic lollipop melodies, and the most heavily vocodered singers on the planet drone about sunbeams and butterflies over simple, blown-out hip-hop beats. But instead of being a straight-forward bliss trip, Black Moth's latest, Start A People (70s Gymnastics), is full of wormholes: you'll be riding a groove as it dips and recovers like a slowed down record and then--poof!--the song's off on some other tangent, or just plain over. The album's got "future Levi's commerical" written all over it, but it also encourages a nostalgic haze that makes you think, "Hey, maybe my childhood wasn't so horrible after all." - Chicago Reader - July 2004

"Start A People"

Besides having one of the best band names I’ve heard in a long time, the self-styled "electronic junk band" Black Moth Super Rainbow have taken on the challenging and intriguing venture of re-creating the sounds of the early 70’s, as heard through the ears of a child. Pretty ambitious, considering none of the band’s members were even alive in the 1970’s! Well, speaking from the point of view of someone who was a child of the early 70’s, I can tell you this album somehow did manage to induce fond and patchy memories of my early youth. Nothing specific, you understand. That’s the magic of Start a People. It can take you back to a time you think you remember, without actually remembering it. Does that make sense? Who knows? But I think this album could just as easily appeal those who were not necessarily a child of that era as can to those who were.

With an array of analogue synths at their disposal, mangled tapes, and cheerfully cheesy vocorderized vocals, Black Moth Super Rainbow comes across as sort of a lo-fi, more experimental version of the French duo Air, with a lot more warmth and dizzyingly fragmented nostalgia thrown in for good measure. Great titles like Raspberry Dawn, I Think It’s Beautiful That You are 256 Colors Too, Early 70’s Gymnastics, Folks With Magik Toes, and I Am the Alphabet evoke the colorful, sunshiny magic television world of Make a Wish, Sesame Street, H.R. Puff n’ Stuff, and School House Rock without ever making a single specific reference to any of those.

- Aural Innovations

"ALBUM OF THE WEEK: Black Moth Super Rainbow, Start A People"

"The sun came up late. Tomorrow never came." So sings an eve-of-Y2K computer on Black Moth Super Rainbow's synth ballad "Hazy Field People," right before the song morphs into the down-tempo opening strains of "Smile Heavy." Time tends to move like that for these Philadelphia brethren to Boards of Canada. One warbling chord always melts into the next like a warped cassette tape left in a hot car. Drum beats quicken irregularly and human voices thicken into digital haiku, mumbling through their machine dreams: "I Think It Is Beautiful That You Are 256 Colors Too." You can scroll from that song back to "Raspberry Dawn" and on, or let the ticktocking keyboards count backward to black. But these lovely, lonely songs will still be sung blue.

- City Pages (Minneapolis/St. Paul)

"Start A People"

There's something remarkably comforting hidden in Start A People's crazily psychedelic freakouts. Whether it's the lingering melodies, the adolescent fascination with toy sounds, or the lo-fi pops and crackles, Black Moth Super Rainbow (BMSR) create such a warm aural atmosphere that it seems like they're playing just for you. Ironically, their compositions are so exuberantly freeform that like an autistic wunderkind, they're almost definitely just playing for themselves.
A collective with a constantly changing membership (three to six players at any given time), Black Moth Super Rainbow inhabit a world not dissimilar to their more sombre downbeat electronic brethren Boards Of Canada. You'll detect the resemblance not only in their constantly fluctuating electro-pop sounds, but in the childish regression of their compositions: keyboards are beaten at will, music-box melodies are looped and polluted with sonic dirges, and raw beats stop and start as though someone is messing around with the drum-machine. It all adds up to a joyously infectious listening experience.

While the album's opening tracks highlight the various aspects of BMSR's sound, it's not until "Seeeds" that all of these features perfectly coagulate within a single composition. The track's opening keyboard chords are immediately blown away by a rapid drum flurry that would have made Elvin Jones smile, which is similarly drowned out by layer-upon-layer of atmospheric synth melodies and vocoder vocals. The track's lo-fi dynamics add to the ambience -- sputtering sounds, static crackles and tonal imbalances cling to the looped melodies. At first I thought my CD player was fucked, but then I realized that this was how the song actually sounded -- the band effectively extracts the warmest sounds possible from their vintage electronic equipment.

Surprisingly for a band who clearly have little interest in lyricism, BMSR hardly waste a word on their vocal tracks. Offered through a vocoder, the infrequent vocals are emotionally resonant and soaked in melancholic defiance against passing time. On the brilliantly titled "I Think It Is Beautiful That You Are 256 Colors Too", the somber vocals juxtapose the song's upbeat tone: "I don't wanna live through winter / I can't stand to see everything ending." Similarly, on the album's other highlight, "Hazy Field People", BMSR relay everything they need to with a simple guitar loop, an understated beat and eight affecting words: "The sun came up late / Tomorrow never came." Such tonal shifts, from the aforementioned drum-heavy, psychedelic excursions to these mellow, despondent introspections, highlight the group's masterful versatility.

Start A People is an exciting aural experience; with luck, its striking melodies, lo-fi dynamics and innovative organic/electronic sound excursions will garner it the attention it deserves.

- Splendid Ezine

"Local Scene: Black Moth electro-pop"

On "Start a People," Black Moth Super Rainbow makes the most of vintage analog equipment and the occasional vocoder vocal to create a hazy, psychedelic daydream of electro-pop genius that could pass for the soundtrack to some long-forgotten children's program of the '70s that PBS was forced to cancel because the tunes were bumming everybody out.

With vocoderized vocals wrapped around such melancholy verse as "When we die we go away" and "I don't wanna live through winter/ I can't stand to see everything ending," these guys make the suicidal humanoid on that Grandaddy record sound happy, while the beats at times are just funky enough to remind me of a really cool old album ("Push the Button") by Money Mark that I'm sad to say I've never heard another person mention.

Anyhow, although the band is based in Pittsburgh, reviewers all over the world are eating it up like it was Quisp or something. Which it kind of is. At Opus, one reviewer sized it up as, "It's like Boards of Canada and Neutral Milk Hotel sitting down with Wayne Coyne to record a children's album inspired by the sounds of late '70s video games and public television fare ... with an episode or two of 'Doctor Who' thrown in for good measure."

At SCTAS, the critic went with, "If your dreams were available for rent on Beta, there is no doubt that BMSR would be the backing soundtrack." And Tone Vendor ended a rave with "'Start a People' just rocketed to the top of our Best Of list for 2004 ... and the disc hasn't even finished playing yet."

- Pittsburgh Post Gazette

"Start A People"

It's hard to find comparisons (or words, even) that really get how wonderful the gorgeous yet slightly eerie mood of Start A People is. The wizards in Black Moth Super Rainbow are on some mysterious kaleidoscopic plane of existence, and for 16 or so songs they take you there...and it's a crazy, lovely place to be. - erasing clouds - may 2004

"Black Moth Super Rainbow - Start A People"

Pittsburgh-based basement freaks BMSR make some of the most off-kilter, gorgeously psychedelic and phenomenally natural music to ever come out of laptop computers. ...BMSR's music is most aptly deposited in the same bank, if not the same account, as a loose confederation of studio wizards and musical fringe-wanderers that goes back in time past Boards of Canada, past Kevin Shields' wavering, shimmering Loveless (My Bloody Valentine) and Martin Denny's curious exotica, to Joe Meek's premature space oddities and Leon Theremin's human electronics.

Those historical touchpoints match BMSR because, while so much electronic and sample-delic music acts as rejection of humanity and nature, there has always been a hippie undercurrent that has understood that machines are our servants: We, as princes of nature, created them, they are nature just as we are... - Pittsburgh City Paper


"Falling Through A Field" FULL LENGTH CD (2003 - Graveface Records)

"Start A People" FULL LENGTH CD (2004 - Graveface Records)

"Lost, Picking Flowers In The Woods" 12"EP/CDEP (2005 - Graveface Records)


Feeling a bit camera shy


an electronic junk band focused on turning childhood memories into songs. the use of dusty, saturated, analog sounds has gained numerous comparisons to folks like boards of canada, the children's televison workshop, and even AIR.