Codec & Flexor

Tubed

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Codec & Flexor recorded their first LP ten years after playing in the same band. Though they kept in touch, Codec (aka Christian Morgenstern) went on to a respected DJ and production career, while Flexor sang in a German band called De Luxe. The divide between pop and techno has been bridged often and occasionally very well, but Tubed isn't a good example. Capitalizing on the neo-industrial bent of dance figures from Chicago's Felix da Housecat to Munich's DJ Hell, Morgenstern's productions certainly aren't the problem -- they're tight and menacing, nodding to the European style of rigid, guttural body music as well as a sense of acid madness inspired by the more robotic offerings from Chicago and Detroit. The vocals, though, are sub-Depeche Mode, closer to industrial cartoonists Sheep on Drugs than a real Front 242. When Morgenstern's work is allowed some space, Tubed starts to sound very special; on the first minute or so of "Alert," he layers straitjacket techno over synth work with an Iron Curtain dread and a surprisingly glam guitar line. After Flexor's had his say on "Robot Funk" (even the vocoder sounds more natural), the track storms out with a few razor-sharp effects in line with Nitzer Ebb. Best of all is "Time Has Changed," a quirky new wave number with a more refined vocal that works well.

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