Pop Artificielle

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Lb (aka Lassigue Bendthaus) is none other than Uwe Schmidt, the man who did a whole album of Latin versions of Kraftwerk songs under the name Señor Coconut. Who else in the electronic music world would have the courage to produce this entire album of pop hit covers and pull it off without looking like an ass? On Pop Artificielle, Schmidt reverses the Señor Coconut technique, taking a variety of classic pop songs and converting them into angular glitch pop. But far from attacking these staples of the pop music cannon, Schmidt cradles these gems in his own warm musical blanket.

Using his self-designed RAW vocal processing software to create an ethereal machine voice, everyone from James Brown and Prince to David Bowie and Mick Jagger get the treatment. Most stunning is his cover of John Lennon's "Jealous Guy," on which the haunting vocals float through a heavenly cloud of static electricity. It's also the closest Schmidt gets to revealing his true self, almost letting the veneer of RAW drop completely to reveal his own voice. But when the machine returns for the chorus, you realize that there's no real reason to want a human voice -- there is the original Lennon version for that. Of course, it is possible that the crafty Schmidt has actually designed a computer program that makes the most flippant tone sound genuine. But the sincerity behind even the supposedly disposable '80s hit "Be Near Me" feels real enough.

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