Vitalic - Flashmob

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  • You know how when you're a kid, everything is absolutes? Modern dance music is kinda still stuck there, flipping between the night-and-day of dour seriousness vs. punch-your-mom-in-the-face party ethic. It makes it hard to find music that does more than soundtrack individual emotions. Somewhere between the Juan Maclean's raucous four-on-the-floor formula and chamber vox techno of the likes of Imogen Heap or Bat for Lashes, there lies a fabled land called subtlety. Most the time, only Brian Eno lives there. But for goddamn once in our lives, a new guy, Vitalic, nee Pascal Arbez, hits it. More than hits it. Owns it. Vitalic's debut full-length OK Cowboy made waves back in 2005 with its woozy blend of smarter-than-average synths and weirder-than-average samples. But there was this one track, "The Past," that came on like an Adderall-powered freight train loaded with paperback copies of Steppenwolf. (That's a metaphor for being rad and subtle at the same time.) And it left you being all "Why can't he make a whole record like that?" Wish granted. Our boy Arbez is back and he's got a danceable Enola Gay filled with subtlety bombs. Eponymous cut "Flashmob" feels like the bastard child of Justice and Lindstrom—detuned and headfucked, but not too far gone to exude shy thoughtfulness. "Your Disco Song"—the single—grabs a creepo Crystal Castles-style child vocal and forces it to smash through pane after pane of 8-bit glass. The cartwheeling bassline draws a stealth jet contrail across the background, again achieving the near impossible feat of being silly while staying somber, danceable but dingy. Likewise, slowburner "Alain Delon" is as implacable as its Le Samouraï namesake, playing quiet, razorgrooves close to the vest, giving it up without giving it away. Basically I could rave retardedly about great dance like this until I have a nanotech beard, but why bother. Get this record and spin it til you're tired of it, then go listen to some Berlin-era Bowie or early Roxy Music or something. Then put on Flashmob again and realize multi-layered paradoxical pop doesn't come around that much anymore.
  • Tracklist
      01. See the Sea (Red) 02. Poison Lips 03. Flashmob 04. One Above One 05. Still 06. Terminateur Benelux 07. Second Lives 08. Alain Delon 09. See the Sea (Blue) 10. Chicken Lady 11. Your Disco Song 12. Station Mir 2099 13. Chez Septime