Man, Music, Technology

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In summer 2003, Stylophonic heated up Europe and the U.K. with a handful of freaky fun singles that burned the pea soup from the sky. Receiving its American due a few months later, it's easy to see why: Man Music Technology worries about the bump and the hook before pledging allegiance to the genre, and that's a platform even the most casual dancefloor observer can endorse. Stylo (aka Italian producer and DJ Stephano Fontano) cribs from every taste-making electronica movement of the past seven or eight years, banking that fashionably referential style will override the filler. It doesn't completely -- the French-tronica bump of "Soulreply" is too repetitious, and "It's the Old School With the New School," too, overstates its point. But how about that "Way of Life"? With its chopped-up bass loop buzzing irresistibly through a muffled filter, it sounds like Hot 103 blaring out a car window in a 1980s New York summer. Resurrecting Shock-G/Humpty Hump to bust lines like "Since you passed me the mike/I'm gonna pee on it" only defines the mental picture. "Break @ 100 BPM" does just that, slinking over a handclappin' synth line right out of "99 Luftbaloons"; "All Nite Long" returns to the Daft Punk hard house muse; and vocalist Lardedarde aims admirably for Kylie Minogue sophistication on "Da Symphony," even if the lighthearted cut can't quite elude the Euro-dance tag. That's not a slight on Stylophonic. It's just that, sometimes, it's hard to tell whether Man Music Technology is aiming for the recombinant hep of a Basement Jaxx or Metro Area, or whether he's happy just blending their grittier elements with the live-for-the-beat party atmosphere of Italy's discos and summer getaways. Whatever the motivation, Technology succeeds because it sticks close to its hooks. Even by-the-numbers house like "Game Over" shows a flair for moving things forward with vintage synths and an understated four-on-the-floor bounce. It's been six minutes already? Yeah, you were too busy dancing your ass off.

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