Apples + Synthesizers

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An early disciple of British machine techno, Solvent's Jason Amm began looking back to an earlier age of electronic music with his 2001 Morr Music title Solvent City, and he continued the thrust with this, his 2004 full-length debut for Ghostly International. In theme and execution, Apples & Synthesizers owes a heavy debt to the era of classic computer-game music that anyone with a Commodore 64 or NES lurking in their closet will immediately recognize and just as quickly appreciate. Solvent's first release on Ghostly, the electro flashback single "My Radio" (originally heard on Tangent 2002: Disco Nouveau), is here and sounds just as good as it did two years before. Unfortunately, although the rest of the record is along the same lines -- Amm sports an instrument list heavily populated with items from Korg and Roland -- none of these tracks are able to compete. "Think Like Us" and "Remote Control" plow the same ground as "My Radio" (with Kraftwerk to thank for the material), but with much less punch to their melodies, and Amm provides little of the production finesse heard on his previous Suction label recordings. He hasn't completely lost his touch, however; a few tracks push retro electronics into some interesting realms, led by the instrumentals "First Step" and "Science With Synthesizers." The final track, an alternate version of a track ("Steve Strange") first heard on a Suction label compilation, closes the record in fine fashion.

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