Scanner and David Shea promise in FREE CHOCOLATE LOVE "a collection of beautiful rhythms and melodies for lovers of the world around us." The collaboration extends its amorous intent with such titles as "Theme from Smootchy Smootchy" and artwork parodying South Seas kitsch-exotica. Without such markings, you might have difficulty tracing Amor's arrow through the bumpy, bleepy sampladelia of "XX7's Theme," the seemingly random-number generated opener. But "Misty Moods Theme" makes up for that, laying on the romantic piano and natural sounds (crashing and lapping waves, scads of birds) pretty thick--affectionately, of course.
"Theme from Smootchy Smootchy" nails the sitar-infused mystique of Bollywood soundtracks; "Theme from Peach Garden" reaches for a gentler, blossom-blown Oriental-erotica sensibility. "Theme from Moonlanding" takes on the sacred ambient touchstone of Brian Eno's APOLLO, and the intricately looping "Themes from Waterfall" recasts Kraftwerk's electronic fetishism as robust (human) romanticism. As LOVE winds through tacky Tiki stylings (with cheap-sounding synths standing in for authentic faux-exotic instrumentation) and sensuously soft orchestration, the duo's amusingly warped "electronica for young lovers" avoids predictable pastiche and strives for meaning. By album's end, Shea and Scanner have conveyed that LOVE, in its many splendors, is indeed all around us.