London | Warp, Domino Records
MYSPACE | WEB
Ben Jacobs was lucky enough to grow up in a house with a piano. As a child he protested about the lessons in which he was forced to learn the music of the famous (dead) composers. “I used to prefer sitting at the keyboard at home and playing tv theme songs and music from adverts”, remembers Ben. Eventually he realised that this expanse of black and white keys could be turned to his own advantage and he began forming his own musical inventions.
One day, the teenage Ben bought a Commodore Amiga 500 home computer. Armed with this and a £1 piece of music software, he began to explore the world of electronic composition. Eventually he got so good at using this cheap set-up that back in 1998 Warp Records released his first single. “Warp were the only label who were interested in my first tune,” says Ben. “I sent my demo tape to fifty labels in all, but most people freaked out. A couple of guys made the bizarre criticism that I had too many ideas.” This criticism has frequently dogged Max Tundra (as he was hereby renamed), in a musically diverse, eclectic career where time signatures, musical genres and instrumentation have been given the thorough shake-up they have long needed.
For the last few years (as well as remixing bands such as Franz Ferdinand, Pet Shop Boys, The Futureheads, Tunng and Von Südenfed), Max Tundra has been working on his third album for Domino. This record has been completed, is called “Parallax Error Beheads You”, and was released in October 2008. Six years have passed since the release of his previous LP. During this time many bands have formed, recorded albums, and split up. In a time when groups are encouraged to bang out new records two or three times a year, it is almost quaint to encounter a project which took the best part of a decade to record. Despite the attention to detail in the densely layered programming, these new songs are Max’s catchiest, brightest and most memorable yet, and make much of his earlier work sound home-made and clunky. Now that it’s finished he can leave the house once more.
Max Tundra's warm, emotive, uplifting songs will capture your spirit, pour it over ice, and serve it back to you at the best disco in town (where you won't get turned away for liking both Destiny's Child and Frank Zappa). Incidentally, there's no dress code either.