New Musik

Warp

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If the characters in the video-game film Tron had an LP collection, New Musik's Warp would be continuously spinning on the turntable. Like Kraftwerk, New Musik were techno-pop pioneers; Warp is essentially Kraftwerk's futuristic dance music without the German accents and the icy hooks. If the tracks on Warp sound familiar, it's probably because the album's chilly keyboards and mechanical percussion helped to form the blueprint for '80s synth acts such as I Start Counting and Depeche Mode and the electronica artists that followed in the '90s like the Crystal Method and the Prodigy. That doesn't mean they're entirely original. "Here Come the People" opens up with funky riffs prevalent among club-oriented new wave bands from the early '80s; its robotic, monotonous vocals are snagged from Kraftwerk. Tony Mansfield (vocals, keyboards, guitars) has a thin voice that sometimes recalls Tim Finn of Split Enz. Unfortunately, Mansfield sings without emotion and his often cryptic lyrics are repetitive and uninvolving. If songs such as "Kingdoms for Horses" or "The New Evolutionist (Example 'A')" are actually about anything, a casual listener wouldn't be able to solve the puzzle. However, "A Train on Twisted Tracks," "I Repeat," and "The Planet Doesn't Mind" don't need comprehensible lyrics; they may not have much heart, but it can be fun listening to the lads play with their high-tech gadgets. [Originally released in 1982, Warp was reissued with bonus tracks in 2001.]

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