Tobacco - Maniac Meat (Anticon)

Dirt, derogation, depravation: Bearded put on gloves while listening to Tobacco's latest record.

Released Jun 28th, 2010 via Anticon / By Brendan Morgan
Tobacco - Maniac Meat (Anticon) Every so often a record comes along that is so filthy, so depraved, it’s impossible to avert your attention. Tobacco’s newest venture, Maniac Meat is one of these. All sixteen tracks, arranged in a mosaic of derogation, drug nightmares and 80’s video nasties; told of course with a pinch of wit, could quite easily soundtrack Naked Lunch: The Videogame.

Ronaldo Fauntroy straddles his role as the front man for Black Moth Super Rainbow with the Tobacco solo project, sharing material between them both – his habit for vocoder vocals being one. The chubby grainy synths and tacky drum pads had always lent itself to a club atmosphere. But what club? Where would you hear something with such a dubious sexual subtext? It’s not S&M or bestiality being suggested; no, the hilarious horror and revulsion one feels can only be compared to accidentally bursting in on someone performing cunning lingus on a sweaty bulbous monster.

*Cough* … or watching a zombie film. Don’t let my crass interpretation put you off. In all seriousness Maniac Meat is a great record elaborating on Tobacco’s taste for retro electronica and his love of the grotesque, as related two years ago in an interview with Kotori “There’s something seriously fucked about workout tapes from the mid 80s, and just about everything obscure on beta tape. They make me feel awful, but really good and curious at the same time. […] I’m trying to translate that feeling.”

Besides which, the release contains many more family friendly moments. Two tracks featuring the familiar ramblings of Beck (‘Fresh Hex’ and ‘Grape Aerosmith’) are certainly two of the albums finest additions, even if they are too short. Elsewhere, the depraved imagery and slow groove in ‘Heavy Makeup’ twists and turns and slithers under your skin. There are times, mainly towards the end, when its unsettling tone is somewhat forced, verging on exhausting – a disjointed album structure works towards this – but on such excellent tracks as ‘Sweatmother’ (an evil and infectious blaze of distortion bass and squealing pitch bends) and ‘New Juices From The Hot Tub Freaks’ (a prime example of his hip hop tendencies) it is flawlessly executed.

Compared with his other work, solo or otherwise, Maniac Meat’s nuances come at no surprise but they do seem to have taken on a higher class. No other artist can replicate Ronaldo’s particular analog fetishism and skuzzy beats as it crawls through your mind grinning its shit eating grin. In the words of an old friend of mine “How could it be wrong if it feels so right?”