Minotaur Shock is the nome de plume, or at the very least, nom-de-keyboard, whirry thing and beat pusher of self proclaimed ‘sad electronica hero’ Dave Edwards. For a variety of reasons this record will be released only online, with no physical format. In a somewhat bold move, Edwards has laid bare the reasons for this on his website, which are well worth reading. The gist being, he has a family to support, his music doesn’t make that much money, and by downloading for nothing it risks a small artists like him slipping off the books of a ‘supporting’ label (although one does wonder for an electronic artist such as Minotaur Shock, who tours irregularly, how much support they are giving.) and eventually not being able to afford to put out records anymore.Regardless of your opinions of the music, or indeed the artist it is a key problem with the download age, that continues the status quo: Downloading records by tiny artists and tiny labels means that they will no longer be able to afford to release records, or record records, or tour. Major labels will be able to take the blow, to a certain extent, although it leads to a ‘one and done’ culture for new bands trying to forge a career (would the likes of Tom Waits have been able to develop his unique sound had he been starting out in the industry today? It seems unlikely.Rather than that most 2008 term ‘doing a Radiohead’, Edwards has instead priced each individual track according to what he thinks it is worth. Like some kind of muso top trumps, a visit to his website reveals an in depth breakdown of each track, each element scored out of 10. Issues such as ‘Technical Difficulty’, ‘Computer Crash Rating’, ‘Extra musicians rating’ and even a ‘replay rating’ all go into an honest, and charming assessment of each track on the album. When an artist effectively reviews himself in minute detail it becomes difficult for a reviewer to match it, especially when said artist reviews his own music ‘The Beekeper’ thus “The programming on this one slides about like a wet salmon on a waterslide. Not only does the time signature change every now and then, but the 'swing' gets incrementally eradicated at about 1m42s. That's some technical business right there”.But what about the music? In keeping with Edward’s approach I will now run through the record track by track.1. Zookeeper: MS rating 50p.Quite a lot going on here. Built upon an old battered keyboard and swooning violin, the beats fade in and out, glitching every now and then before allowing a clarinet to come in. Electronics fizz in and out spikily, before ending with a swoop of a violin.TLOBF rating: 55p2. Am Dram: MS rating 55pA fanfare and a more straight up fuzz beat and bleeps. A nice bit of stabby violin here and there, more straight up electro from Minotaur Shock. In its own way this is a ‘banger’.TLOBF Rating: 55p3.This Plane is Going to Fall: MS rating 66pBut the plane isn’t going to fall, certainly not with ‘Trespassers William’ vocalist Anna-Lynne Williams in it, because she recorded the vocals in Seattle, then sent them across to Bristol to be cut up. So far, so carbon friendly. She cooes prettily, and there is some nice layered strings and glitchy bits here, but it is rather forgettable after its overTLOBF Rating: 55p4. Accelerated Footage: MS rating 57pEven Edwards observes he could see how people could find this irritating. Which is honest, and unfortunately not self depreciating. It is. There is too much going on here and it all looses its way a little.TLOBF Rating :32p5.Jason Forrest: MS rating 54pSampling from Good Books Pachendale while he was remixing the track, Edwards turns it into his own track. Again much harder beats than you would expect from Minotaur Shock. Bonus points for the wailing horns. Much better than the previous track, and does Mr. Forrest proud.TLOBF Rating: 70p6. Two Magpies: MS rating 33pUnfair pricing again from Mr. Minotaur Shock, as what he describes as ‘pleasant, tuneful and short’ in fact comes on like Eno’s work on the second side of Bowie’s ‘Low’ album, but played on a battered keyboard in a warm kitchen in the west country.TLOBF rating: 90p7. My Burr: MS rating 75pScattershot beats and more swooning strings build into a thing of minimal, fuzzy beauty. Minotaur Shock manages to make a cold, digital genre feel warm and organic.TLOBF rating: 80p8. BATS: MS rating 55pDid I say warm and organic? Digital bleeps and fuzz rule the day, along with static crackles that sound like ants marching over your eardrum. Then a brooding beat. This is the kind of track you could imagine being used in a sequel to the film Pi, should they ever make one.TLOBF rating: 55p9. Snapdragon: MS rating 49pAgain there is a lot going on here. Simple piano and violin are drenched in a throbbing electric swarm. The gentle clicking beats come on like crickets in this woozy composition.TLOBF rating: 40p10. Buzzards: MS rating 71pGentle electronic swells and feedback build slowly before the pounding bass drum and comes in and cut up piano and clarinet join in. A military feel to the drumming, and the horn stabs and key changes call to mind a twisted ‘sadtronica’ version of ‘Theme From Shaft’, believe it or not. Just not as celebratory.TLOBF rating: 75p11. Beekeper: MS rating 77pAnd now the programming like a wet salmon on a waterslide. To be fair that’s a fairly good description, as the beat scatters around and oscillates up and down. Trumpet samples build and fold into each other. You get the feeling that given the opportunity, Edwards would be quite happy scoring films. Suddenly the midi xylophone kicks in at 3 minutes and the peice comes on like Sufjan Stevens at his most boisterous played on a Gameboy. Yes, I know I am one for odd comparisons, but for 77p, you give it a chance and tell me I’m wrong.TLOBF rating: 82pAs a whole Amateur Dramatics is enjoyable. At best it manages to blend live instrumentation and digital cut ups to make a warming, melodic and often charming. However, at times it is all a bit much, and the delicacy is lost.65%TLOBF would have paid £6.89Minotaur Shock is charging £6.41Minotaur Shock on Myspace