“What is hidden in this room in a box? Benbo and Michelle Bee don't afraid to innovate, stepping outside of usual forma they represent. Giving us in a most beautiful minimal way, a sensual acid house, which becomes dangerous addictive! Try it! ”

Pink Lizard Music's pxnklxzrd imprint released Benbo & Michelle Bee's non-COVID acid anthem ‘Room In A Box’ on Nov 20, complete with a Hannah Holland remix, a shiny new radio re-version, and a loose-limbed Caucasian funk live version with the Pink Lizard All-Stars, that recalls the baggy heyday of the early 90s.

Digital renaissance man Benbo is the multi-instrumentalist, singer, composer, producer, remixer, artist and designer behind a stylistically dizzying volume of tracks & remixes.

Chiefly a producer-writer, able to open creative doors for artists who don't want to compromise, his collaborations have turned up on VICE on HBO (with Neotropic); at Christmas #2 for Cape Town's GHFM (11-week chart run with EJ von LYRIK); pounding from Detroit club speaker stacks while the stage lights up with laser wearables (with Mother Cyborg); and as a Record Store Day Exclusive clear vinyl 10", originally premiered by Gilles Peterson (with Pablo).

His remixes are similarly unpredictable - check the carnival bass of Beat Rivals ft Lifford's '(Gotta Be) Free' Benbo Bass Remix, the woozy techno of Otti Albietz's 'Becoming Close (Benbo Remix)' or the balearic acid classical of Alexandra Benedict & Tris Taylor's 'Sleeping Lions - Benbo Remix.'

But his solo work is kept closest - with an album begun in 2003, signed to Cooking Vinyl in 2009, and briefly released but withdrawn in 2011. Its quality is signalled in the #1 Indie Shuffle Alternative chart placing for 'If You Feel Emotional', mixed by Gordon Raphael, in 2015, and volumes of radio support for 'Gravity Pulls Me Down,' finally completed in 2017 thanks to production by Marta Salogni.

The ultimate accolade, though, must go to 'Sheep On Drugs', which fulfilled a life's ambition by appearing on legendary BBC1 show 'Homes Under The Hammer'.

After disappearing in the wake of his 2017 mini-album EVERYTHING IS FINE, not a peep was heard on any Benbo profile, until a one-liner earlier this year in Popbitch recommended his parody COVID manual HOW TO SURVIVE A PANDEMIC.

Someone then took a line in the book referencing an imaginary Benbo Global Megastore too seriously, and the real Benbo Global Megastore was launched in August - packed full of exclusive designs across clothing, accessories, homewares, books/zines and - yes - music.

Is it real, or is it just absurdist fantasy? Doesn't matter - the creative products and services keep coming.

Reviewed by Nagamag on 
December 2, 2020

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