- Altair Nouveau is among the spaciest of DFA's recent signings, a producer clearly as in love with the soundtracks of John Carpenter as he is with Italo covers of classic rock tunes. Italo is key here, I think, because the music of Nouveau, AKA Brandon Mitchell, doesn't seem to be attuned to dance floors necessarily. (Although they are certainly danceable.) Instead, these are discrete songs with beginnings, middles and ends. I can't imagine most DJs simply playing half of Mitchell's "Space Fortress," for example, which saves its best for the final two minutes with a synthesized trumpet lead that'll have you either pumping your fist or reaching for the off switch.
"Showdown," meanwhile, more adequately gets at Mitchell's soundtrack love, with its pleasantly percolating backing track giving a chance to various sounds to prove their worth (a synth riff, voices echoing that riff, harmonizing bells, a blooping jazz-ified break). Ultimately, though, it lacks the forward motion of both "Fortress" and closer "Sorcerer," the latter of which is the highlight of the 12-inch. "Sorcerer" embraces the hints of flourish that Mitchell dropped in spots elsewhere, and goes full-on with the funk. It's tough, well-produced and a little bit funny to listen to in the privacy of your own home—just like the '80s soundtrack music that it so readily recalls.
A Space Fortress