Stephen Morris on Tunnelmental Experimental Assembly

Nigel R Mitchell, Tunnelmental Experimental Assembly
Image caption Nigel R Mitchell was an apprentice jockey in Cheltenham in the 1970s

Can there be a music act with a name that takes longer to say than Tunnelmental Experimental Assembly? That's twelve syllables.

Welsh indie band Gorky's Zygotic Mynci? No, that's only seven.

Japanese Jehovah's Witness? A one-man-band with a moniker inspired by the longest name in the Bible, Maher Shalal Hash Baz. Still a pitiful six syllables.

What about the Swedish anarchist punk band, The (International) Noise Conspiracy? No, despite the additional punctuation, they still only weigh in at a measly eleven syllables.

So, regardless of what else we think of Cheltenham native Nigel R Mitchell's electronically enhanced music, the very least he deserves is an award for THE BIGGEST NAME IN POP.

It would be the biggest name in music full stop, if it wasn't for The University of Cambridge Philharmonic Orchestra.

But enough of long names, what of the music itself?

Regular readers of these pages may recall that Tunnelmental Experimental Assembly's album, ¿Teatime?, was reviewed last year.

There was also an accompanying interview with Mitchell ahead of his appearance at the 2010 Wychwood Festival where he would wear an impressive star spangled banner themed waistcoat.

Back then the album was all about protest and indignant anger. "There's loads of stuff wrong with the world," was the over-riding theme of the record.

In the intervening months between that album's release and now, little has changed for the artists I'm going to have to abbreviate to TEA (my fingers have just begged me to never type the full name again).

On 1 January 2011, the band released its new single Defending the Dreamers which was followed by the Radio Riddler Dubplate remix of that track. Both are available on an interweb facility near you.

The same themes found on the album are still present on the single.

"I stare in disbelief at the warmongers/stretch the distance between human and being," runs the opening line of the song.

There's more of this to follow: "ignorance", "freedom restrictors", "rendering obsolete the lovers/for a few more barrels of dominance."

It's eloquent and impassioned - although disappointingly vague.

Just who are these freedom restrictors? What is it that people are ignorant of? There's a hint there in the use of the word "barrel" which implies a reference to the relationship between oil and power, but it's all just a little…vague.

That said, it's a huge step up from the overwhelming majority of dance music.

Compare this with The Prodigy's 'No Good (Start the Dance)' (whose lyrics consist of the words "No, no, you're no good for me - don't need no-one who's no good for me") and Defending the Dreamers begins to look like Noam Chomsky.

Image caption As a jockey Nigel R Mitchell rode a winner at Cheltenham in the 1970s

The two versions available, the original and subsequent remix, shed different shades of light on the song.

The original is heavy and dirty with grimy beats and distortion aplenty.

There's a grittiness to it that emphasises the anger and urgency of the lyrics.

Meanwhile, the dubplate remix sounds lighter.

But, maybe because of dub and reggae's association with themes of oppression and protest, it is the remix that fits the song's mood much better.

The Easy Star All Stars used a similar justification for their fantastic reggae interpretation of Radiohead's OK Computer.

In Defending the Dreamers, TEA have shown that there is more to dance music than hedonism and 'larging it'.

There remains an intelligence here that shows an ambition to do for dance what Rage Against the Machine did for heavy rock.

No doubt more of the same is to follow with the forthcoming album Say Unity. Which will definitely be worth a listen.

More on this story

Around the BBC

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites