Definingtech – Various Artists

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Album Review by Mark Bayross

Complied by writer, journalist and It-girl Summer Forest, DEFININGTECH is the first release on Orbisonic, the new electro label of LA’s Manifesto Records. It’s intended as a showcase for all that’s hot in “nu new-wave” electro across the globe.

In America this sound is becoming inexorably linked with the cutting edge of fashion, as style mags have started to pick up on the trend and feature artists like FischerSpooner (one of the more high profile exponents of this new movement) within their crushingly hip pages.

…All of which sounds horribly pretentious – the techno equivalent of the one-dimensional retro posturing of The Strokes et al. Fortunately, despite the usual dance album problems of repetitiveness and beat fatigue over its 14-track duration, there are enough ear-catching moments to retain interest.

DEFININGTECH pulls together contributions from Americans Felix Da Housecat, The Detroit Grand Pubahs, Adult, Tommie Sunshine, John Selway (as Memory Boy) and Ian Clark (as Perspects), not to mention New Yorkers FischerSpooner themselves, plus Japanese Telecom, sex-obsessed Canadian Peaches, Aussies Shapeshiftr & The Sentinel, Dutchman Dexter, Finnish duo Mr Velcro Fastener, Belgian Fabrice Lig, French duo Miss Kittin & The Hacker and the UK’s Innate. Perhaps the most intriguing track comes from Glaswegians Bis who have ditched the indie rock of old and reincarnated themselves as new wave electro-heads.

We’re talking decidedly old skool here – think Afrika Bambaata, Kraftwerk, or early New Order – given a thoroughly modern makeover – deep beats, robotised samples and washes of analog synths. If you can ignore the irritating trendier-than-thou manifesto, there’s plenty here to warrant further investigation.

4 stars