Boomkat Product Review:
The fifth "Switched On" volume from Stereolab yet again sweeps up a bunch of their rarest releases, throwing them together with a few unreleased tracks for good measure. This one's especially worth a peek, including Autechre's genius remix of 'Refractions in the Plastic Pulse' and Stereolab's second lengthy collab with Nurse With Wound.
'Pulse of the Early Brain' opens with Stereolab's album-length 'Simple Headphone Mind' collaboration with Nurse With Wound, 31 minutes of psychedelic kraut-directed squiggle that's worth the asking price alone. Like with their previous NWW collaboration, the band sent material to Steven Stapleton - in this case 'The Long Hair of Death', which emerged on a later split with Yo La Tengo - who shaped it into something completely different in his studio. The same track was used on both versions, and Stapleton fleshes out Stereolab's motorik original with lysergic synths, dissociated blotter-strength timestretched voices and discomposing foley samples. Essential gear, basically.
Elsewhere, there's remastered jams from throughout the band's history, like a suite of loungey "Chemical Chords"-era tracks, and the synth-fried 1998 gem 'Symbolic Logic of Now!'. Autechre's blunted edit of 'Refractions In The Plastic Pulse' is an unexpected inclusion, and still one of our favorite AE remixes - an "LP5"/"EP7" drumwall collapse that turns Stereolab's original into ghost traces over precision-sliced drums.
But for fans it's the unreleased material that'll be the biggest draw, and there's a bounty: a live version of "Emperor Tomato Ketchup" fave 'Cybele's Reverie', a demo version of "Space Age Batchelor Pad Music" track 'Ronco Symphony', two tracks made for Charles Long's sculptures, and a new recording of 'Plastic Mile'.