North America has Bigfoot (or Sasquatch); Asia has the Yeti (or the Abominable Snowman); Norfolk has the Thetford Beast. Like its possible relatives, this seldom-spotted creature is about seven feet tall and hairy, resembling (depending on whom one might ask) an ape or giant cat. The creature roams the forest, sharing space with Concretism’s Chris Sharp, whom the beast might describe in similar terms.
Using their advanced tool-making capabilities, Concretism composed the score to an imaginary children’s mystery book highlighting the lore of the Thetford Beast. The first of these tracks surfaced earlier this year on Castles in Space’s Moonbuilding Summer Special. “The Thetford Beast Investigation Society” is about a secret society that hunts the beast, perhaps unaware that the beast is also hunting them. The track is wonderfully retro, awash in 80s synth, sounding like the theme to a classic stalker film, albeit with a tinge of playfulness. As befits its subject matter, the record is available on splatter vinyl. Netflix’ “Stranger Things” has brought this style of music back into the mainstream; most of us are better as a result, although perhaps not the members of the society, as there is an “Incident of the A1075.” The cars pass by, oblivious to the carnage just off the asphalt, signaled with high synthetic strings. Two paths diverged in the woods and I took the one less traveled by, and died.
Phil Heeks’ cover is perfectly chosen. One can imagine a ten-year-old reading the softcover book underneath the sheets, a flickering flashlight revealing something hidden in the foliage. If such a book were real, it might have a Flexi-disc. “Contact Ritual” is spooky like a seance, the template of a Really Bad Idea. We would throw our popcorn at the screen, but we want to see what happens next. Why this fascination with a creature who obviously wants to be left alone? What did the members of the society think would happen if they found it? “The Figure” represents the great reveal, “The Disappearance” the droning denouement. Whatever happened to the once-proud Society? Could one of their number be the new Beast? The answers are withheld, but we’re enjoying the musical mystery. (Richard Allen)