Having released his acclaimed debut EP in 2019 on Eskimo Recordings and wowed crowds with his full live band Belgian artist Orson Wouters, aka Transistorcake, returns with the 'Cocktail' EP. Released this July the EP features 6 brand new tracks that expertly blends together everything from bubbling acid melodies to pounding disco drums, spiky post-punk bass, ambient tones and industrial percussion to create a refreshing if intoxicating brew.
"I've always thought cocktails were a perfect way to introduce an imaginary world," Orson explains. "They come in so many different colours and tastes, each with its own different glass to pour them into. Everybody has their own preferences, their own ways of making them, they're an art really. And that whole idea suits the songs on this EP. It’s all about imagination, a bit of fantasy. When I listen to these songs I see a perfect, beautiful cocktail party in front of me where everybody is dressed up to the nines and having their best time."
Serving as an aperitif the EP opens with 'Cocktail Op.1', an elegant moment of synth led electronica, sparkling and crystalline just like the Frozen Margherita the track's narrator describes. Conjuring up visions of glamorous alcohol adverts from the 1970s, all glittering diamonds, plunging necklines and seductive looks, it's the perfect way to ease yourself into Transistorcake’s fantasy world.
Having warmed us up, it's down to business with 'Grenadine', which Orson describes as just a "good old fashioned TB-303 dance track" and who are we to argue seeing as everybody loves a 303 and we're partial to an Old Fashioned too. Throw the two together and the result is a funky, low slung jam, that maintains just the right tempo for dancing whilst ensuring your drink will be safe on the dancefloor.
Having worked up just the hint of a sweat there we segue into the aptly titled 'Melted', a languorous moment of downtempo electronica. Driven along by a bass line that will transport you, alarmingly coloured drink in hand of course, to a Baja beach as the sun slowly dips below the Pacific horizon, turning the ocean into molten gold, close your eyes, feel the sand between your toes and picture Transistorcake and his live band soundtracking the scene.
"I wanted these songs to sound as if Transistorcake is playing them next to a swimming pool or on a beach with live drums and bass," says Orson. "A trail of wires just running through the leaves of exotic plants, people dancing barefoot in between the band, nothing but blue skies above us."
Having refreshed ourselves it's back to the dancefloor with 'Pina', named after one of Orson's favourite cocktails. Upping both the tempo and the energy, the constantly evolving synthesiser melody, ably supported by clattering drums and a fuzzy bass guitar all come together to deliver an uplifting, hazy number that whilst as fun as its namesake is unlikely to leave you with as many regrets.
Acting as a companion piece to the EP opener 'Cocktail Op.2' explores a similar theme and sense of arrangement though perhaps after the consumption of several drinks as the synth melody takes on a more ecstatic, wild feel, the mood ably summed up by the track’s narrator as she tries to describe the overwhelming beauty surrounding her.
Finally, and perhaps aptly, the EP concludes on a slightly subdued note with 'Mosquito Mojito'. We’ve all been there, sat at the end of the night when everybody else has jumped in their taxis and you’re left all alone with just angry insects for company and a mess of empty cocktail glasses to clean up, but at least you have a new headful of good memories and now a new song to soundtrack those moments. And a headache, of course, there’s always a headache.
Picture (c) Aljocha Hamerlynck