Back in March of this year, no doubt with the then imminent premier of the sixth (or third, depending on how you count) Star Wars film on their minds, the kracfive.com collective hosted another of its Iron Chef of Music competitions. In these face-offs, musicians work quick electronic songs from a shared sample. The ingredient du jour: a snippet from the second (or fifth) film, The Empire Strikes Back, in which Princess Leia and Han Solo debate how to repair C-3P0. Han suggests Lando Calrissian: “Lando’s got people that can fix him.” Leia, on the other hand, asks Chewbacca, who groans accordingly, that groan having always been the most humanizing element of the Star Wars movies.
And then, giving new meaning to the phrase “pod race,” six kracfive participants take that 41 seconds and run with it. Kettel, Kristian and Mr Numan construct tunes that barely recall the original sonic matter in any significant way, instead making background music that might have played in one of Calrissian’s cloud-white 1970s living rooms: Numan with a lightly beading bit of minimalism, Kettel a more upbeat, percussive entry, Kristian with what sounds like Hal 9000 whistling a Laurie Anderson cover (sorry, wrong movie). Octopus Inc (whose “Atomsk” collaboration with Le Gun supplied the Downstream entry back on July 7) takes the groan and plays it like a keyboard-triggered tone, much as Colongib uses it for textural purposes amid a burbling track. Ipagos, in the most literal-minded entry, quotes Leia directly, and turns Chewie’s groan into something of a punch line. Who’s the champion? It’s best to let the wookie win. Check out the whole bunch at kracfive.com/ironchef.