It was high time to check out some more electronic music, so I headed to Siltanen’s Oireklubi in Kallio to check out a band called Straktobeam. The preview I’d heard on SoundCloud gave me the impression of 1980s computer game soundtrack music, which would have pleased several of my friends from back in the UK, but I was a bit apprehensive that I would suffer from an overdose of it. I needn’t have worried, because there was a little more variety to the music than that. It helped that the band have a drummer – playing actual drums, not a drum pad – to complement their KORGs and laptops. They knew how to move, too, and were entertaining enough to watch even in preference of the engaging video material provided via projector. I definitely enjoyed the music and there was a fair crowd inside listening with me, even though the terrace was warm and inviting. There could have been a little bit more banter and audience engagement between songs, I thought, especially as the venue was hosting a watching audience rather than a crowd of dancers. Towards the end of the gig the band did mention that they will be playing at Flow festival in Helsinki.
Some of the projected video material was more engaging than others, though all had clearly been carefully selected. For ‘Tetris 2.0’ there was Tetris-themed backdrop, much in keeping with the game soundtrack feel I already mentioned. During other tracks there were also a “Straktoman” platform game, clips of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Power Rangers and a young Sir David Attenborough, in a wet suit, superimposed onto the front of a roller coaster ride. So there was plenty of humour on display, but I struggled to match the rhythm of the music to the rhythm of the animations at times.
There’s not much of Straktobeam on YouTube, it would be nice if there were a reasonable quality track along with their own animation, but perhaps they don’t want to give it away. Fair enough. You can check this video, it’s not the clearest, but it’s a taste:
All in all a good gig, and I now have another item added to the list of wicked and arbitrary things that I will do as an evil dictator: I will force a live band to play soundtrack music to all my gaming sessions.
See, Straktobeam, see what you have done?