Elektrotwist

La Philosophie Dans le Boudoir

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This German duo is comprised of Uwe Moellhusen, an artist who does multimedia as well as conceptualizes and organizes exhibitions, and Joerg Meyerink, a computer geek, sound twiddler, and 3-D animator. Both are sound archivists and electronic strategists. What sets them apart is that they collect sounds from the period of 1957-1962 exclusively and create sound collages that evoke everything hep from the era: sh*tty sci-fi clicks, cool jazz, striptease music, surf guitars, cheesy female vocals, the sounds of automobiles that were created from the chrome down, flashy suits, hideous beatniks unaware the era ended in 1952, soda fountains, martinis being poured, sexy teen exploitation flicks, and so on. There's a detached Sartreian cool combined with a situationist mischief. I know you're getting the picture. And no, they don't sound anything like Stereolab. Stereolab actually makes music; these cats sample and assemble literally everything. When the baritone saxes pit themselves against the tom-tom groove in "The Invisible Striptease," there's a cool 8/8-time shuffle where vocals hover nervously and whisper in sinister tones in the background, and it could be the place in the movie where the detective enters the back door of the strip joint and begins to open drawers in the office before he's discovered. Yeah. Dig. Wink. There are few records as self-conscious as this, but fewer as well-constructed. This moves from mood to mood seamlessly and shimmers with icy-blue noirish textures that make it irresistible from track to glorious track. When we enter the "Fata Morgana Bar," we can feel the eyes of the regulars sizing us up for cops as we futilely attempt to remain invisible by playing cool. The percussion and the windswept vocals that leer as much as they whisper call us out to reveal our true purpose for ordering that Manhattan and the oh-so-dry martini. What gives us away? The vibraphones, slipping under the drums as they pick up the twitch in our step, the wrong vermouth we've chosen, and the fluttering eyelids flashing nervousness as we try to look away from the intently peering, yet apparently disinterested, throng on the stools. Music like this doesn't get made every day anymore, and thank God it doesn't. But in the case of Elektrotwist, another few volumes in the series would be most welcome.

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