Jay Denham

Synthesized Society

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Wedged half way between Detroit and Chicago, Kalamazoo's Jay Denham and his Black Nation record label is often credited with featuring the best of each city's respective house and techno sounds. But such a synthesis is nowhere to be found on this record. Firmly locked into hard techno mode, Denham doesn't even seemed concerned with his Detroit techno brethren as much as he is with the severe European sound that is often better at paying the bills. Released on Germany's Disko B (a label that usually has more sense than this), Synthesized Society shows the unfortunate side effect of overseas techno fan's blind loyalty to geographically privileged artists and the pressures put on those artist to develop prematurely due to the imbalance of popularity between overseas and at home. Not to say there aren't some moments. The opening "Pride (It's Time)" pays notable regard to the Underground Resistance model of militant African-American techno (although it is far more heavy handed here). "Alien Nation" has just enough electro funkiness to make it effective in a dancefloor context. But beyond that, the tracks are either too sluggish or too forward to really enjoy in an album context.

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