Ascii Disko

Ascii Disko

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Ascii Disko Review

by Heather Phares

Ascii Disko collects all of Kat D.D. Rokk's L'Age D'Or singles under this name, including "Immer," "Einfach," and "Jack Your Body to the Beat." Indeed, nearly half of the album has been previously released in one format or another, but for the most part it still sounds fresh, thanks to Rokk's adept balance of rock and dance. Like Daft Punk, Echoboy, and Mirwais, Rokk has an instinctive understanding of pop hooks and structure, but unlike those artists, his music is sparer and more elongated, tempered by a Teutonic iciness either borrowed or inherited from the likes of Kraftwerk. Ascii Disko's music is also less expansive, instead carving out a narrower but still intriguing sound that encompasses rock, acid house, synth pop, and electro. A heavy retro vibe permeates most of Ascii Disko, particularly on "Strassen" (originally part of a double A-sided 12" with "Immer"), which fuses nose-in-the-air Euro synth pop with a relentless house beat. "Einfach" sounds a little like a club mix of the Normal's infamous "Warm Leatherette," while "Jack Your Body" manages to recall the stylish French house of the late '90s as well as the influences on that particular sound. Fortunately, not all of Ascii Disko's best moments come from its previously issued singles; "Cool" delivers some of the sweetest, chilliest electro-pop in recent memory, while "Schanze" is similarly subtle, with a gentle restraint that approaches laptop pop. On the whole, the album is quite strong, although it could be argued that a few of its tracks are somewhat underdeveloped for their rather lengthy running times. Regardless, Ascii Disko manages to be a cohesive, impressive debut.

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