Head On

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Super_Collider, the head-on collaboration of Brighton-based producers (and friends) Cristian Vogel and Jamie Lidell, results in an album of delightfully skewed dance-pop. Undoubtedly accomplished only after weeks at the computer (as the haggard faces and bleary eyes on the sleeve attest), Head On consists of ten songs mashing up P-Funk- and Prince-styled vocals into an electro-shredder similar to the one employed by Autechre and Oval. Though his experimental bent is well-known, Vogel's solo productions rarely forsake the almighty beat and thankfully, it's no different here. The old-school electro beatbox is in full effect, and while that usually makes for a stark quality to any throwback affair, Vogel and Lidell throw so many goofball effects and percussion detritus into the mix that most of the tracks here sound positively beefy. The breakout single "Darn (Cold Way O' Lovin)" -- already included on several mix albums just six months after its release -- features a soulful vocal (mostly repeating the title) while brutal low-end tech-basslines break up into static, slip in and out of the mix, and charge through right and left channels. The message is clear: vocals are just another sound-source to be tweaked and spun off in all directions. True, there's a lot to digest -- and perhaps a bit too much production in several spots -- for a collection of "pop" songs, but fans of the Skam label and the Mask series will eat this stuff up. Best of all, now there's an outside chance that a Vogel production will get played on the world's less intellectual dancefloors. [A limited-edition British release added a second disc with four bonus tracks.]

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