With new albums from Tiga, Peaches, and Fischerspooner, it’s a nice year for electroclash nostalgia. But it wouldn’t be a resurgence without the circuit’s high priestess, Miss Kittin, who rejoins her original conspirator, the Hacker, for a sequel of sorts to 2000’s First Album. Alternately lush and ascetic, Two is a stellar case of album-length electro, if not of creative titling. For Miss Kittin, née Caroline Herve, it’s the follow-up to last year’s Batbox,which came presumably between word-of-mouth DJ sets in sexy little pockets of the world’s fashionable cities. Batbox was ravey and pop-skewed but it lacked a certain jovial nihilism that slipped older hits like “Frank Sinatra” and “Rippin Kittin” past the blood-brain barrier, despite their attendant silliness. Kittin’s music is usually written off as finite by people who don’t know better; at any rate she’s always been principally a DJ, sustained by both setlist and guestlist. Excellent mid-decade mix records like Live At Sonar slotted Kittin firmly on the A-list in that regard. But her rich musical heritage and impeccable tastes are better served by collaboration, whether it’s with Felix da Housecat or the Hacker, née Michel Amato.
For the Hacker’s part, his sort of sludgy mayhem next to Kittin’s slinky noirism makes for some seriously moody shit. Not to mention variety. “The Womb” opens with some laser-tag, spaceship-in-reverse warning bloops that cut hard to a thrashy vintage Hacker beat and Kittin’s addled invite to climb walls and stuff. The bespoke techno-goth of standout “1000 Dreams” shimmers like black ice; “PPPO” projects classic arcade imagery on stadium-sized screens; “Party In My Head” sounds like nunchucks whanging away on a dilapidated neon sign. That’s just the first four tracks.
All over Two the synths hiss and whisper, drenching everything in mists of mottled color and designer delight. It’s more of an after-party record, in search of third and fourth winds as people start pissing in corners. “Electronic City,” particularly, with its queasy washing-machine rattle, disembodied vocals and wordplay like “empty shells on the treats” will reload fantastically bleary atmospheres for the more industrious kinds of nightcrawlers. “Ray Ban” channels ’80s dreamwave hysteria and asks, rhetorically kinda, whether or not the sky is gray or blue (at the optimal hour for Two it’d be hard to say for sure). “1000 Dreams Reprise,” the album closer, compresses everything before it into an M83-like short film, oozing hydraulic fluid, sea-air, and sunrise withdrawal. Overall the record’s so easy on the ears if it doesn’t remind you of the perfect night out, you can always put it to use for the perfect night in. Substances and drama aren’t necessarily required.
Tiga – Ciao!
Miss Kittin – I Com
Golden Bug – Hot Robot