Music Reviews

Golden Boy with Miss Kittin

Or

Emperor Norton

The way I see it (ahem) is that Miss Kittin is gonna be pretty much the only one to walk out of this “Electroclash” car crash unscathed. Flavors of the day (don’t even try to keep up) may come and go, but when you’re smacked hard right in the face by the sheer talent of this ice-voiced maiden-of-all-trades… well, it gives you pause. She’s shown a fucking neato talent for chameleonesque shape-shifting and a yen for picking good collaborative partners, to say nothing of her own DJ skills (a bunch of boys just felt a twinge of pain) and that aforementioned bored/cool/not-for-the-faint-of-nerves singing tones. Lemee add to the list, enduring artistic sensibilities – and a great sense of style. There. I said it. Waaaaaah.

So this time around she’s working with the Golden Boy, and I already like him because he let fly all of this subtle innuendo about how The Hacker sucks. Plus I dig this cat’s style, and no, I don’t mean the cut of his lapel or the shade of his max factor, it’s his musical style – Martin Rev’s kinder, gentler keyboards on Suicide’s second record, Brian Eno circa Another Green World and Kraftwerk circa Autobahn all harmoniously riding a triple bicycle together down the quaint streets of Paris.

The soiree kicks off with a breathy spoken intro where Miss Kittin lists all of the activities which this album can serve as perfect accompaniment to, up to and including cocktails, dancing and *BINGO* car trips. And, as if on cue, the next number, “Autopilot,” is a note perfect Kraftwerkish homage to late-night driving – and baby, it fits perfectly – the monotone vocals, the repetitious snare and head-drilling one-finger synths – Europop perfection. Of course, if we’re talking about pop perfection the true frontrunner on the album is a deadpan endorsement of murder named “rippin’ kittin,” which is just so fucking awesome that I have to wheel out truckloads of hyperbole. Suffice to say, it lifts the title of The Misfits’ “Mommy Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight,” performed in the manner of a lobotomized schoolgirl, and welds that to a spare four-to-the-floor beat and muted keyboards with shrill loops at the beginning middle and end. It’s… fuck… I was driving at midnight on the way back from the Kevin Blechdom show and the road was empty but the streetlights were still on and it all made so much sense.

“After 8” skirts close to Cibo Matto territory with the Kittin listing various sweets that she will consume after eight o’clock, but unlike Cibo Matto, who played that gimmick for years, Miss Kittin collapses in hysterics halfway through the song. But she gains her cool back in minutes – cigarettes were lit, I figure.

“1234” makes the most of writer’s block, as Miss Kittin laments her lack of lyrical inspiration, with the tape and the tracks rolling, and somehow turns it into a compelling little number. It’s funny how singing about not knowing what to sing about still comes off as more natural and compelling than any self-important, say, Nickelback lyric to date.

Golden Boy takes care of business himself too, with a series of poised and restrained caf=E9 electro instrumentals that, while perfectly groomed and manicured, avoid the trappings of novelty lounge by virtue of a.) cheap instruments and b.) a sense of inventive madness. There’s Atari interprets Lee Perry and the Human League does first-wave ska – all with a delicate sense of clicks and glitches and squiggles and nods.

So perfect.

Emperor Norton Records: http://www.emperornorton.com


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