Midnight Juggernauts

One of Australia’s most fearlessly independent, individual, and inventive bands, Midnight Juggernauts are back bearing gifts: a brand-new LP, Uncanny Valley.

In robotic engineering and CGI, the Uncanny Valley is a hypothesis —coined by legendary roboticist Masahiro Mori in 1970 – he wrote in his work Bukimi no Tani Genshō (不気味の谷現象) :

“I have noticed that, in climbing toward the goal of making robots appear human, our affinity for them increases until we come to a valley, which I call the uncanny valley.”

This “uncanny valley” is a phenomena in which human acceptance of robots grows more welcoming the more human their appearance, until they become too human, in which there’s suddenly a precipitous plunge from acceptance to revulsion .

The dark depths of this philosophical valley is a space the trio —Vincent Vendetta, Andrew Szekeres, Daniel Stricker— have long explored. Running traditional rock instruments (guitar, keyboards, drums) through samplers, pedals, patches, and assorted effects, they pervert the familiar into slightly-off forms; robotic sounds made by human hands, with the waft of unsettling horror-soundtracks keeping things forever on edge.

Since forming in Melbourne in 2004, the band have forged a unique path, pressing themselves firmly into the popular and unpopular consciousness, refusing to be bound by boundaries of genre, convention, or expectation. Eschewing an easy parochial path, Midnight Juggernauts have instead been international; taking their psychedelic Soviet-sci-fi pop to listeners near and far, around the corner and around the globe.

Uncanny Valley marks Midnight Juggernaut’s third full-length journey into the deep, once again piloting their glittery kosmische musik far into known cosmos and unknown genre. The band began rolling tape between a church nestled in the Loire Valley in the French countryside and various studios in Melbourne and Sydney, the resulting record is another LP that sounds uniquely Midnight Juggernauts. Situated at a self-styled nexus between genre and era, Uncanny Valley is 43 minutes of warm-hearted cold wave, interstellar harmony’s, early 1950’s house, steeped in the darkness of dusty Giallo soundtracks, audio spomeniks at once futuristic and rustic, a bold musical future envisaged through a soundtrack to a forgotten Eastern Bloc Tarkovsky film, sifting through the ruins of LPs past.

The record marks the band’s long-awaited return, their first output for 3 years following their previous albums Dystopia and The Crystal Axis. After touring long and hard from Brisbane to Barcelona, Berlin, Bogotá, and beyond— the trio took ‘time off’, which really equated to throwing themselves into all manner of esoteric adventures, oddball one-offs, inspired shindigs, and ambitious undertakings.

As a band, they’ve performed live, interpretive film scores at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image; as well as on the southern hemisphere’s largest grand organ at Melbourne Town Hall, recreating the film scores of John Carpenter, Wendy Carlos, Bernard Herman, and Philip Glass; while also staging the hypno-mentalist performance-piece Phantoscopia, currently in development.

As record label bosses, they served up Siberia titles from Kirin J. Callinan (in whose live band they’ve been playing), Forces, Jonti, and Erik Omen, whilst staging Siberia Nights parties in Paris, Tokyo, New York, Melbourne, and Sydney – in various Beaches, nightclubs, Boxing rings, rooftops, warehouses etc. And as individuals, they’ve tended to all manner of personal projects, whilst collaborating with Callinan, Sébastian Tellier, Justice, and Solange.

PHOTOS

VIDEOS

Uncanny Valley
July 9, 2013 / Record Makers

01. HCL
02. Ballad of the War Machine
03. Memorium
04. Streets of Babylon
05. Sugar and Bullets
06. Master of Gold
07. Systematic
08. Deep Blue Lines
09. Another Land
10. Melodiya