Sep 4, 2007

Berlin's Vector Lovers are marching like an army with pinheads for shoes

Vector Lovers' Martin Wheeler

Vector Lovers' (pictured) spanking new album Afterglow is just a little too pristine, like Future Sound Of London's rambling era without the ever-present peril of descent into hell.

At first listen, it seems to live closer to the surface than the usual subterranean Soma techno, but the shallow end is deeper than you think.

Half-Life is all breathless synths and sinister crackles, while Last Day Of Winter is watery and hesitant.

A Field marches like an army with pinheads for shoes. The delicate Piano Dust is heart-breaking and intimate, and that's the key; the album is so well produced, every padding bassdrum and swooshing chord pours straight into your eardrums.

Afterglow will reward you with what it says on the tin. Go buy.

At the other end of the spectrum, maybe on a secondary spectrum complete with its own biohazard label, is the tumultuous mayhem of Shitmat's new offering Grooverider.

Don't be hoodwinked by the reference to the drum and bass legend; this is old skool Britney-sampling jungle cut and pasted into fresh genres that didn't even exist five minutes ago.

It's inevitably formulaic: cranked-up breaks stabbed with broken vocals and sporadically laid to waste by doom-mongering sirens or pant-wobbling sub-bass.

But it's fun tee-hee, just like his earlier track Agricultural Ardcore, which was the god-awful Archer's theme tune hacked to a stump.

If Shitmat is Red Bull laced with amphetamines, Bola's latest album Kroungrine is peppermint tea laced with nothing. Not so much a downer as, well, a bit boring.

It lies somewhere between DJ Shadow and lounge jazz, but it is certainly neither. They should nick a trick or two from the Vector Lovers.

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