Sun Electric

Lost + Found: 1998-2000

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After having released Via Nostra in 1998, Sun Electric seemed to go to ground for years, whether due to a combination of shifting tastes on their part, their audience's part, or perhaps both. Lost + Found, surfacing in 2007, puts the duo's history at the turn of the millennium into some perspective, with a collection of songs recorded during that time that are often enjoyable, if not admittedly truly remarkable. Having helped codify a particular strain of ambient techno in the 1990s, here Max Loderbauer and Tom Thiel sound like they are exploring gently rather than trying to make any grand statement, though a few tracks inadvertently point to some futures (the opening "Tominas," for instance, sounds more than a little like a pathway to dubstep, if more playfully and calmly so). "Ohaya," meanwhile, especially with its clever time-shift about halfway through, feels more naturally organic than many other efforts given that label, a building collage of vocal snippets, nervous drums, and suddenly exultant tones and melodies. Other efforts like the squelching clip and click of "Sissy" and the great arrangement on the hollow guitar strum and chug of "Shuttle," continuously relooped and reworked into a sweet explosion of joy, make for welcome highlights. The album never drags per se, but a fair amount of it still comes across more as enjoyably pleasant rather than distinct; still, it's clear that the Loderbauer/Thiel partnership is working well enough on these "lost" tracks, and if they were finding themselves more and more out of sync with new trends in electronic music, they were nonetheless creating enjoyable work.

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