Now – that was a moment to be heard. One that restored to full power, my faith in the radio station that once was the CBS – the cybernetic broadcasting system, and is now, Intergalactic FM.
The track Orient Express, a song written for a presumably Italian 70s rock opera, by the remixer-re-recorder’s father. The track won the contest. About a 1:100 chance. But he won. Based on the votes by the members of the intergalactic collective. But it was a amazing moment. For two things, first, the uncanny fact that it won, and the even more uncanny fact that the DJs could not believe the back story on the track, at least, it sounded as if they were checking their own pulse, to make sure that the excitement that they shared in was true.
After 16 hours of on air contest time, and countless more hours spent collecting the first 100 tracks, getting everybody together, the tension was high as to see which one would win. More refined, smoother, housier, more disco-esque tracks were played, more industrial, more darkened drum-n’-bassy tracks, but none would conquer the elegiac “Orient Express.” Obviously, the registered listeners and I shared a similar happiness as one posted after the contest was over, *This Reminds me of the old CBS days*
This was indeed, the first, or second, I’m not sure, time the Demo Contest had been held. Usually it was the new-years count down, which I was not informed of this last year, in fact, I skipped it, because of the sheer pain of missing the old Cybernetic Broadcasting System. They were gaudy, loud, 70s, 80s, 90s, 2000s, campy, x-rated, horror-ific, steeped in coffee and fog, druggy, sober, slap-happy and seemingly could shrug off any criticism by simply yelling the word *ROBOT* out loud. They even had a sexy *Robot Player* that danced as you streamed the station.
But they were always, and have always been, reggae-soul-disco-house-techno-italo-fan-tastic. Too cool for the likes of everybody who wishes for the smooth-over-produced sounds of the clubs, they sampled Star Trek, Taxi Driver, and Scarface, and ride the Netherland-ish line, keeping a sense of chaotic order that can only be described as Cybernetic.
To hear about them and their death/cred, check out http://www.splicetoday.com/music/west-coast-knows-how-to-party
And so, when the Cybernetic Broadcasting System died, a part of me died. Nothing sustained me but their strange spaced-out ethic, their un-ending tribute to music which can only be classified as that which pushes forward *The drive of life* and their respect for artists on the basis of the context of the times in which their tracks were released, put them close to my heart. Pure energy. Plain and simple. They’d drive you high, space you out, and then keep you going with some deep techno or house, none of it cheezy, unless it was meant to be. Their rainbow colored “CBS” logo and Dancing Robot gave them the flair of finally taking to the nerds out there the pride of a clandestine liberal politics which was only mysteriously re-enforced by their eclectic and esoteric taste in music.
But more than anything else, it was that driving, perhaps violent sense of humor that made them precious. To hear a CBS Top 100 year end countdown was to be blessed with a real DJ, playing tracks that, when good, were truly gems that you would never be exposed to without the link of a human, or the CBS. For all their robot rhetoric, they were commenting more on the medium of sound production — their medium of transmission. Nonetheless, their sound and live broadcasts were infinitely personal.
Their main DJ, was titled RobotDJX. What MORE can you ask for!? The pseudo interaction of normal Dj listerer relationships was subverted. Now, listeners not only had a DJ, they had a super-robot that sounded just like a real DJ. Their system truly was *systematic*. This was fun. Anytime you wanted an escape from the earth bound reality, to the freescapes of Pan-European and Global Listening – centered around something where you found people who wanted more life, out of their beats. Sometimes they got it wrong and ended up sounding like can openers, for sure, but, for the most part, they were making the party.
Literally, nothing else can give you disco like they do and keep you in the year 20xx. Rooted firmly in tradition, and in outer space at the same time.
Which, is why 2009 was a fundamentally important demo contest year. The Sci-fi sybollic importance of the 20-09 years. 2099, 2999. Hell, even 1999, made it into sci-fi movie titles for a while. Back before the internet reminded everybody that historically 20 years is a short time span. Some great apocalypse was bound to happen. One that would shake the bones of the dead CBS from the Intergalactic FM radio station. And it did.
In the year 2009, a man from Malta won the contest, on his father’s track, made for a Rock Opera, in the 70s. Yes, a ghost from the original past to which the CBS, and intergalactic FM, and bring down the house. Operatic, is indeed a very good way to describe his track, *Oriental Express* which sounds as if it came off of the Vangelis soundtrack, with a little bit more swing inside.
Arriving, back home
this could be the last night on the Orient Express
arriving, back home.
The sound of the locomotive was clearly evinced in the beat and the pacing of the percussion, which, in turn, is where the track so much resembles the soundtrack to Vangelis, on top of this, a trance crescendo from some synth that I cannot as of yet describe, and in the end, it was pure cheese. But the good kind, that means to be cheese, and bring tears to your eyes.
This track literally rose from the dead – as did the CBS. Recently, the Cybernetic Broadcasting System was re-instituted as Channel 4 on the Intergalactic FM. Which, perhaps, was another cosmic sign marking the arrival of more slow, synth, juiciness. The tension when the moment came, when they felt a winner had been found was wonderful. Nobody could identify the author of the track. In fact, he was mis-identified, and then, the tension rose, as during the playback of the winner, the announcement was made that it was not their accountant Hans who had made the track, but soembody else. Hans was nothing but an impostor, incorrectly given the title of winner by the DJ rude 66. Neither was it Taro. And finally, after asking for calls, the winner, called in. It was Rudi. And they finally had cheers around the room, when it was found out, that he was from Malta and could be properly identified as the winner.
He had entered another track, “Miami Girl” that had also placed within the top 15. But the track that used the work of his father, won. To have this tension, the tension of the false victor claim a prize, even if this was not due to his own circumstances, the drama of the pretender was there. The lie waiting to be stripped away to reveal the truth! Ah-ha! Yes! It is Rudi! From Malta! With this legendary track from the past, to come, and save us, in the future of 2009, to restore what has been taken away, to bring back life, to what had already passed away. Tears, my fellow listeners, tears, for his triumph, after the demo contest marathon.
And what else is a 16 hour demo contest than a marathon! A great trial, to let us know of the battle waiting to be won. It is only the beginning.
To the IFM and Rudi! A million thanks! I can gladly say that the maddening bliss of those post 9-11 days is back in this, 2009, the first post-9-11 year. Disco will keep terrorists in check. Have no fear. The decade of anthems that decry anthems that become anthems to dreams that once were anthems, that still are, is already here.