This Time Last Year
They call this “intelligent dance music,” but in many ways it reminds me of the great experimental jazz exploration of the post-WWII New York bebop scene.
Opening cut “Eye Contact” takes a pre-ironic Rat Pack-based liquid piano line and juxtaposes it with a dubstep shattered guitar line; the effect is that of someone spiking your martini with ruffies and speed, and now you’re wide awake and ready to nod off. “Find My Way” keeps the static-y guitar line but now heads off to a haunted Kraftwerk show complete with the synthesized ghost of Ralf Hütter. We alternate between seductively sensual and angst-y, edgy, electronic anti-rhythm as we journey to “Password.” Here the rhythm gradually builds in intensity with you hoping for a key change to resolve the tension, but it’s not to be found.
This is music exploring off-beat time signatures overlaid on a disco beat with microtonal chord changes that don’t exactly register with what a lifetime of Western Music Theory has taught us to understand. Sampled vocals promise a Max Headroom singer, but he only appears as Tupac’s hologram trying to sing Cole Porter with a hip hop beat. He’s lost, we’re lost, but that’s the desired effect — take us somewhere new, leave us in the woods in our underwear, and see if we make it back to iTunes.
There’s an experiment going on here, certainly, and that experiment seeks to answer the question “How badly can we distort rhythm before you can only dance to it by standing still and checking your text messages?”