You know what I’m tired of? I’m tired of mentioning techno music and having people automatically assume I’m talking about trance-a-holic, glow-stick wielding zombies, enslaved by the same tired, coma-enducing loops that have been pumped out by auto-pilot artists like Paul Oakenfold and Tiesto since 1997.
Thankfully, the signs are becoming more and more clear that the days of “uplifting” yet sorely castrated dance music are finally coming to a close. Artists such as LCD Soundsystem, The Presets and Hot Chip have been rolling a tank across the over-produced, over-polished, over-layered ad nauseum sounds of prance-trance and giving techno what it’s needed for some time now: balls.
(Click below for more and an MP3…)
Unlike the blippy, bleepy 303-driven dance music of years past, this “new wave” of tencho is rapidly catching on. The music is still hard and raw but it’s being wrapped up in a nice little pop-tastic package, with crazy stuff like vocals and radio-friendly song structure making the tracks more accessible to a general audience.
While in New York, I was digging through the EDM (Electronic Dance Music) section at Kim’s Video and discovered what may be the very best example of testosterone-fuelled techno-pop yet: Attack Decay Sustain Release by Simian Mobile Disco. Released in 2007, the album is largely driven by off-kilter vocals and unapologetic techno; if there’s a drum sample or guitar riff anywhere in there I sure couldn’t hear it. The tunes are blippy, bleepy, energetic and raw, but a layer of 80s style syth (very much in vogue at the moment) gives the music enough melody and warmth to keep your head bopping (and if 80s influenced dance music is your thing, you’re going to bust a nut over Love, their tongue-in-cheek “tribute” to Duran Duran).
But make no mistake, underneath the very flimsy pop-music dressing lies the heart of a beating techno giant. If you were to cram early Chemical Brothers and Daft Punk into a blender, you’d begin to taste what this album brings to the party; pour in a few shots of raw, 8-bit noise, some swirly tek-house and a splash of 80s and you’ve got a Simian Mobile Disco cocktail that should keep the party going ’till the generator gives out.
Dying to know what it sounds like? For you listening pleasure, I’ve created a “needle-drop” mix – snippets of every track on the album in a single, five minute MP3:
[NOTE: To play the MP3, left click it and select “open” (which should send it to your default MP3 player) or right click and download it]
If you like what you hear, do the lads a favor and buy the album at the iTunes store or at Amazon.