09 April 2012

Hovercraft Amps

Kickstarter is like an enormous used-record store. I spend most of my time there looking for early-70s LPs bearing photos of guys whose only hope of ever getting laid was starting a band. Every now and then, I find a record I consider buying for non-irony value. Once in a long while, I find something so rare and wonderful that it brings tears of joy to my eyes, say a test-pressing of Black Sabbath's Master of Reality, or the stack of Los Crudos EPs and splits that someone stole from my apartment on Arsenal during a party in 1996. Hovercraft Amps is such a find.

"A mountain walked or stumbled."

If you want to know what kind of amp tone makes K. K. Rotwang consider turning to crime to possess it, play the video on Hovercraft's page. It's not a "good" promotional video, by Kickstarter standards. The campaign's creator, Nial McGaughey, does not stand before the camera making a heartfelt appeal for money, or cracking jokes about the difficulty of starting an artisanal retro-amp workshop. No sophisticated editing suggests high production values. McGaughey just points the camera at the cliff-face of a Hovercraft half-stack, then lets the forces of tube-driven nature take their course.

That course consists of irradiating you with wide-frequency ionizing tube overdrive until your skeleton glows, causing your flesh to boil away and ignite in a slow-motion doom-cloud that dissolves the objects around you. When you are a luminous skeleton-ghost, held together by bong-resin and infra-bass hypergravity, then your 666th chakra will open, connecting you to the One Riff coterminous with all time, space, birth, and death.

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