- Larry Heard's best-known records are about the everyday ("Washing Machine," "Can You Feel It," "The Sun Can't Compare"), but his fascination with outer space has inspired some equally exceptional music. His 1996 full-length, Alien, combined science fiction tropes with shimmery panoramas of pads and keys. As Loosefingers, Heard made the Rhodes and hand drum of 2003's "Glancing At The Moon" seem like a longing gaze. Mr. Fingers 2016 had that same sense of wonder. "Qwazars"'s soft acid lines and piano chords were eager yet leisurely, a mood you might imagine of someone going to the Seychelles, not a black hole.
Heard revisits the space theme alongside the vocalist Chad White on Virtual Emotion, whose four tracks are described as "otherworldly future-house concepts." They're chillier than usual. "Supernova"'s rasping bass is etched on like a frown line. On "Virtual Emotion," digital keys stab urgently against vapour-trail pads and celestial ambience. This would be hair-raising stuff were it not for White's affected vocals. He's both spurned lover and Silver Surfer on "Virtual Emotion"'s main mix. "The cosmos is vacant / No worlds left to seek / More cryptic details I must release," goes one line. Space and romance are an equally odd couple on "Supernova," where White, after comparing a woman to a big bang, sings, "stars need their space." (Some vocals remain on the dub versions, where Heard continues to show an easy command of his craft.)
You Rock Me / The Sun Can't Compare, released 11 years ago, captured a special chemistry between Heard and White. Compared with the tracks on Virtual Emotion, "The Sun Can't Compare," with its down-to-earth lyrics and lullaby cadence, felt like a naturally expressed love song. On "You Rock Me," he sang with a similar ease over Heard's snappy piano house beat. These timeless songs were enriched by White's heartfelt words. Virtual Emotion only shows that some things are better left unsaid.
A1 Virtual Emotion (Main)
A2 Virtual Emotion (Dub)
B1 Supernova (Main)
B2 Supernova (Dub)