If you haven’t heard the Vandroid story, then grab a drink and get comfortable. The story goes: the year was 1984. In a windowless warehouse building on the outskirts of Palm Springs, California, an unknown purveyor of grindhouse cinema was beginning principal photography on what would be its last movie ever.
The movie was called VANDROID, a sci-fi action spectacular about a home-made humanoid robot gone awry. According to a press release at the time this hugely ambitious production was set to feature, “fast paced action with audacious stunts, jaw-dropping special effects and a raft of memorable characters – all backed by an atmospheric synth score.
But sadly, VANDROID would not be completed according to plan. A few weeks after filming began, a freak fire raged out of control, destroying the studio. The courts found the owners innocent. Insurance checks were cut. And the masters for the film were lost forever. Only the screenplay and a handful of promotional materials have survived.
Now, thirty years later, VANDROID emerges from the ashes with the release of a restored soundtrack and the publication of a comic book series based on the original screenplay.
Quite a story, then.
Fast-forward to 2010, and five remixes appeared alongside the Vandroid website, where you could grab remixes from Yuksek, Van She, Fred Falke, Boy 8-Bit and Siriusmo. Now, in 2014, Vandroid has finally delivered on its original ambition with the release of a comic book, and now a soundtrack created by Ed Banger Records.
Upon inspecting the track list there isn’t any Justice or SebastiAn unfortunately, but that’s ok, I can deal with that, as what you do get is a tour de force of Sci-fi-infused electro and synth-wave courtesy of Mr Flash, Busy P, Krazy Baldhead and Mickey Moonlight. Baldhead actually sets the tone for entire soundtrack with his opening track, the aptly named ‘Start‘, which kicks off the soundtrack in true 80s fashion with a playful 8 bit melody over rasping synths. That’s then followed by Mr Flash’s first contribution ‘Acceleration‘ which injects some much needed tempo into proceedings with a neon slice of driving synth pop.
Busy P offers up two tracks, the first being ‘C.O.N.T.R.O.L‘, which starts off sounding like hip hop created by an artificial intelligence from 2149. CSWA*, if you will. Moving swiftly on, Feadz offers up ‘Repair‘ which for our money is one of the soundtrack’s highlights. It’s so good in fact it’s almost impossible to put into words. Other than it’s the electronic equivalent of the three-breasted woman from Total Recall.
“it’s the electronic equivalent of the three-breasted woman from Total Recall.”
The soundtrack hits its stride once again with Feadz’s ‘Party‘ which falls somewhere between tropical and 8 bit, if such a place exists, but it’s actually one the album’s highlights. The album includes two tracks that are attributed to 40106, who, judging by the tracks, could well be Oizo, as they have that zany quality about them. The second track, ‘Time Is Running Out‘ is particularly brilliant. Baldhead is on hand once again to get the soundtrack back on it’s Sci-fi footing with the cosmic tones of ‘Romance‘ and ‘Destruction‘. Busy P is then left to finish out the soundtrack with his dystopian ‘Fermeture‘, which blends brittle melodies over scattered percussion.
Clearly, then, there’s a hell of a lot of music here. If you’re looking for some compelling futuristic electronica then you’ve certainly come to the right place as Vandroid’s soundtrack is about as compelling as it gets. And it’s also one of Ed Banger’s most forward-thinking compilations for a while.
*(Cyberdyne Systems With Attitude)
HBF Rating 4/5