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Real Men Use Carplan E.P. by Voigt Kampff

Posted 2021-01-27. Permalink. Tagged 1990s, collection, electro, music, photo, review, vinyl.

Photo of PANIC003 sleeve A side Photo of PANIC003 label A side Photo of PANIC003 sleeve B side Photo of PANIC003 label B side

The Real Men Use Carplan E.P. by Voigt Kampff. Programming by A.(DOL.B)Balneaves, vocals by Lyken, scratching by Raiz, beatboxing by Rage, and graff by Elf One. Released on Panic Trax in 1997. Vinyl, 12". Flac, 16bit/44.1khz, ~130M. Tracklist, track durations, credits, and BPM from the label artwork. File size, bit depth, and bitrate are of my stored recordings of the vinyl.

I'm confused as to which side is side A. The runout groove indicates that "This Side", the side with Skinny Cap, is B; discogs says otherwise. For this article I've gone with the track order shown on discogs.

No.Artist / Title BPMDur.
A1.Voigt Kampff / Skinny Cap 14807:45
A2.Voigt Kampff / Question 11903:45
B1.Voigt Kampff / Asphalt 12207:33
B2.Voigt Kampff / Bonus Beats 1 11900:46
B3.Voigt Kampff / Bonus Beats 2 12201:00
B4.Voigt Kampff / Bonus Beats 3 13400:52
B5.Voigt Kampff / Samples 00000:49

Skinny Cap is the fastest track here, fun and kind of wonky. It's anchored by a vocal sample saying the phrase "Real Men Use Carplan", apparently a reference to a brand of car-care products. There's a pretty cool drop to half-time right around 4:20, might be useful someday. Of the main tracks on this record Skinny Cap is the one I've played the least.

Question is slower, more mellow. It's "electro" as much as it is "braindance" or even "IDM". Some spacey sounds, a wandering bassline, a 303. It grooves along until a nice knocking beat comes in at the end. A great piece to bring the energy down, one I've enjoyed playing often for that reason.

Asphalt is why I'm here. This song feels like it tells a story. It works its way through a variety of traditional electro sounds, drum patterns, even a little beatboxing and scratching. I love the bassline, I love the arpeggios, I love the noisy lead, I love this track. I first heard it some 20 years ago on Andrea Parker's DJ Kicks (a notable release in its own right). I think Asphalt is a genuine '90s classic, one I'm happy put beside the '80s classics (Clear, Computer Age, Planet Rock, etc.). I suggest you do the robot while listening to it.

The Bonus Beats are bits and pieces from the three main tracks, with #1 being parts of Question, #2 parts of Asphalt, and #3 parts of Skinny Cap (probably parts of the original version of Skinny Cap). Track B5 Samples is a few vocoded phrases followed by a muted siren or animal sound and then a synth tone. A nice addition to the record that I definitely have not cut up and loaded into a mod tracker before.

The record as first released by Panic Trax is only available on the used market now. Mighty Robot Recordings re-released Skinny Cap and Asphalt on vinyl in 2006 (plus a Freak Electrique remix of Skinny Cap); that re-release is available digitally through Boomkat, along with the rest of the Mighty Robot catalog. And the main three tracks have been uploaded to Youtube by a variety of users, of course: Skinny Cap, Question, Asphalt.

I love this record. It's a fun and I think essential piece of '90s electro. I'm very glad to have found my copy in the used breaks section at Platinum some 10 years or so ago; I've played it a lot since.