Originally wrote this preview of my pal Joe's new act for Never Enough Notes, where there's a Soundcloud player with more material and so on. This tune's deffo my favourite BB&MP tune tho, at least at the moment. Some of the greatest awkwardfunk i've heard in years.
Ben Butler and Mouse Pad is the new project of Joe Howe (previously known as Germlin, or one half of gay against you), in which cardboard castles and adult hyperactivity disorders take a backseat to freeform synthesizer solos and extremely geometric pullovers.
Joe's long-standing synth fascination shines through, but this time there's much more of an emphasis on playing. It's still dancefloor-friendly but more reined-in and richly melodic than before, recalling the warm ooze of the Weather Report or Zappa's Waka/Jawaka and Grand Wazoo albums, as well as a sense of pushing synth sounds as far as they'll go that's akin to the BBC Radiophonic Workshop (another stated influence). Or, as one last.fm user neatly describes them, "like Prince and Stevie Wonder on your favourite arcade machine".
As well as the laudably unfashionable likes of prog and jazz fusion, BB&MP identify with the Scandinavian skweee scene, and have released one side of a 7" named "Future Tent" on the genre's spiritual home, Norway's Dødpop label. As well as that record, there's a mini-album of "Future Tent" remixes by the likes of oMMM, The Niallist and Tangles, and a 5-track compilation of early stuff named, fittingly, Early.
So far, gigs have been largely conducted in Europe, but North American audiences will soon be able to get their first taste of BB&MP in the flesh, as they play 22 dates across the US in January and February in support of indie stalwarts Deerhoof. Any of our transatlantic readers would be well advised to take a look.
28 Jan 2011 US San Francisco, CA – Great American Music Hall
29 Jan 2011 US Los Angeles, CA – Echoplex
01 Feb 2011 US Austin, TX – Mohawk
02 Feb 2011 US Dallas, TX – Palladium Showroom
03 Feb 2011 US Memphis, TN – The Hi Tone
04 Feb 2011 US Nashville, TN – Mercy Lounge
05 Feb 2011 US Athens, GA – 40 Watt
06 Feb 2011 US Raleigh, NC – King’s
07 Feb 2011 US Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
08 Feb 2011 US Brooklyn, NY – Ridgewood Masonic Temple
10 Feb 2011 US Cambridge, MA – Middle East
11 Feb 2011 US Philadelphia, PA – Theatre of Living Arts
12 Feb 2011 US Pittsburgh, PA – Altar
14 Feb 2011 US Pontiac, MI – The Crofoot Ballroom
15 Feb 2011 US Chicago, IL – Bottom Lounge
16 Feb 2011 US Madison, WI – High Noon Saloon
17 Feb 2011 US Minneapolis, MN – Triple Rock Social Club
18 Feb 2011 US Iowa City, IA – Blue Moose
19 Feb 2011 US Omaha, NE – Waiting Room
21 Feb 2011 US Denver, CO – The Marquis
25 Feb 2011 US Seattle, WA – Neumo’s
26 Feb 2011 US Portland, OR – Holocene
mp3: Ben Butler & Mousepad – "Super Motion"