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I've Got My Eye on You (DFA)

Wednesday, Oct 15 2008

Whether you believe (or care) that Maurice Fulton, a house producer known more for his techno-tinged outré-disco than the whoop-whoop of the genre, actually hooked up with three Finnish dudes to record this album of shape-shifting techno-jazz pretty much doesn't matter. Electronic music can be inspiringly imaginative, but its subgenres can get pretty cliquey, which is why Carl Craig plays with different tempos and styles under as many monikers, and techno stalwart "Mad" Mike Banks' best track is actually a strip-bar electro jam called "X Squared" recorded under the name of Electric Soul. But no matter who authored Syclops' tracks, it's a compliment to Fulton, the Finns — whomever — that they sound like the work of four people and, more importantly, that they sound this good. When the soul-clap drums come in on the burpin' ugly synth-bass of "Mom, the Video Broke," it feels like a house track that jacks your body. Then there are the jaunty rimshot drums and piano of "Naoka's F," which strides along with standup bass before the whole thing gets Calgon-take-me-away'd by bubble-bath synths — outta nowhere, but perfectly so. Older singles such as "Where's Jason's K" sound more conventionally four-on-the-floor, if only because the freaked frequency of "The Fly" and its batshit synth squiggles are so purely acid house. With a live drummer pounding the beat beneath it, this is the best of techno and jazz. "Nelson's Back" may sound like a P-Funk soundcheck for five minutes, but when the mirror-shaded synths come in (only to austerely bow out to real pianos), you realize Syclops' real talent is not succumbing to the myopia of repetition, managing to gel just as much as it weaves.

About The Author

Hobey Echlin


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