May 1, 2003
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Soft Pink Truth
The Wind-Up Bird
April 30, 2003
Pale Horse and Rider
Stephan Mathieu and Ekkehard Ehlers
April 29, 2003
Set Fire to Flames
If I were an intelligent sampler, all born of wires, I would be tempted to resurrect, from my dusty databanks, the refrain of "Moscow Disco" over a good half of these tracks—which is probably the highest compliment I can pay an artist hell-bent on re-exploring the fertile terrain of Moroder-inspired '80s dance rhythms. Bangkok Impact, aka Finnish Sami Liuski, is one funky motherfucker. The (young, 20's-ish) Man has an M.Sc. in Electrical Engineering and works in Clinical Neurophysiology. Moreover, his bio tells us this and only says: "In his spare time Bangkok Impact has been working on the following releases:"—and then goes on to detail an impressive release history, including the slamming Masters of the Universe EP on Crème.
Unlike much retro-80s electrocash, Liuski is neither a) retro, b) electroc(l)ash, or c) bad. What Liuski manages to skewer from his sex-addled brain (we'll get to the dirty lyrics in a minute) is pure dance gold, and it's great to listen to, as I sit here and type up notes on time-space fractalization. It just keeps pumping out those clean 4/4s, those slow arpeggiator loops that go up and down the scale, hinting at Kraftwerk but never trying to rip them off. Traveller is a great companion to contemporary releases from the Parallax Cooperation. While the latter is a darker affair and a fuck you to electroc(l)ash, Liuski is the sexier and lighthearted cousin that smells of quality. Liuski's roots are not dyed blond—know what I mean?
Despite the general absence of vocal croonery or roboto-trash, a few choice vocalists hit the vocoder, notably on "Don't Be A Badboy." It goes something like this: "My hands in my trousers, I look at you...Too cute to be a distraction, that's all I need...You're hands in my trousers...." But it's damn sad! Like a meditation on the virtues of the internet world... "I like to touch myself...I want to touch myself, while looking at you" –as well as an onanistic manifesto of sorts. Then this wonderful male, unvocoded chorus comes in (with a slight female harmony), sounding something like Right Said Fred, of all people, from "Don't Talk Just Kiss:" "Don't Be a Badboy, You just can't touch me." Images can't be touched...Icons cannot be touched...Don't worship false idols: this is the real shit.
"Crowdpleaser" continues the vocoder warblings, accompanied by a full-piece suite of early LFO-sounding bloops and cinematic expanses worthy of YMO. "I'm a disco track"—or something—it sings. The emphasis is not on the intelligibility of the vocals. I'd even be tempted to say, after Michel Gaillot, that the voice approaches sonority—that it becomes an instrument among many. This was, after all, the primary invention of electronic music (like Jazz). Fuck the arrogance: let's Dance.
Fuck Art, Let's Dance (while making "art" renewed); Fuck the War (in the words of Thomas Pynchon).
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