A. Dobson – Lost Broadcast (Rotary Tower)


A. Dobson - Lost Broadcast (Rotary Tower)

With Lost Broadcast, Alan Dobson (aka Hungry Ghost) has assembled a suitably named collection of short, atmospheric tunes. They’ve presumably escaped from the most excellent 1970s action films you’ve never seen. Evocative titles – ‘Nowhere to Hide’, ‘Fast Chase’ or ‘Rats of New York’ – is the first clue.

Imagine Goblin at the height of their powers. Tangerine Dream when the soundtrack to Sorcerer was fresh off the press. Lalo Schifrin capping his pen post-Dirty Harry. That’s where this collection of snapshots rests. It’s the sort of genre-heavy music Umberto do so well – a prostration at the altar of the large moustache and the Stonehenge-style wall of analogue synths. The same attention to period detail evident in some Air tracks (see ‘Softly’) is on display: pretty much everything sounds authentic.

Everything is so honest a tribute to synth-heavy, jazz-kit almost-prog-but-a-bit-cooler, Kraut-it-yerself music (crossed with a little Atari ST magic, perhaps) it’s easy to imagine the album has been stuck behind someone’s couch for a couple of decades. There’s a couple of non-period sounds on the tracks which keep the ear alert – it’s not all heated-dust synth action, as the dub-squelch-cum-Barry-Adamson swing of ‘Don’t Trip’ shows – but this is as close-to-source retro for this genre as you’ll find. This thing breathes angles and neon.

Tracks such as ‘Inertia Part 1’ bring to mind mod-tracked music, step-sequenced bleeps. ‘Octave Shift’s is night music for Schwarzenegger and keys. Funky drums and low bass provide a suitably driving rhythm for ‘Fast Chase’. There’s a theme across them all – cinema – but interest doesn’t wane.

It’s testament to the strength of ‘Two Forty’ – under a minute long – that it can invoke both some kind of filmic vista and the ghost of Coil circa Stolen and Contaminated Songs. There’s a focus on these tracks  impossible to deny. And while the references are pretty obvious – ‘Drift’s seems influenced by the overdriven section in the ‘Scorpio’s View’ cue from Schifrin’s Dirty Harry score – they aren’t slavish. There’s a pep to the proceedings, an honesty that lifts the tracks beyond workmanlike.

The Lost Broadcast backing crew – Rotary Tower – aims to act as label, publisher and music library. They’re open to licensing releases – hell, there’s even a form if you wish to do so – so I live in hope this music will one day turn up in some new gumshoe giallo. It’d only be fitting.




About Author

A curmudgeon, writer and sometime musician. He has played Japanese drums in Japan, guitar badly in Australia and will never be as cool as Keiji Haino. (But then, who is?)