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Antonelli Electr. - Love and Other Solutions

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Artist: Antonelli Electr.

Album: Love and Other Solutions

Label: Italic

Review date: Jan. 5, 2003

Should the dancefloor call upon you, do not scorn it

Befitting his occupation, which is disco producer, Antonelli Electr. composes Arcadian sex grooves, then sits in them for prolonged intervals, often the entire length of a song, so that his audience can dance all night without worrying about rhythmic interruptions. These days, in the company of dance artists who fretfully insist that they be recognized as intellectuals, making unabashedly hedonistic music is a political statement. There need not be shame in making pure-pleasure music, as Electr. and his super-hip record label Italic have gone to great lengths to affirm; many people just like to dance. Disco was confident in its indulgent purposes; Electr. is confident in his.

Love and Other Solutions is somewhat less akin to disco, actually, than the Dusseldorf native’s first two albums (Me, The Disco Machine, an aggregation of 12”’s, and the proper Click). The bass is lighter and there is more of an inclination towards acid ambience. These here are no less dance songs, mind you, than what Electr. was making before, but the overt Giorgio Moroder references are much diminished. Where once an isochronal bass rhythm controlled the model Antonelli Electr. track (i.e. the hit “I Don’t Want Nobody Else But You”), Love and Other Solutions offers tender meditations by way of soft washes of sound. Patrick Cowley meets The Orb or what have you.

That’s mostly true, anyway. Electr. has not so much foresaken his passion for disco as he has placed new emphasis on his passion for early-90’s German dub-techno. The dubby parts on the song “Augustine” stand out more than the straight disco beat, a reversal of Electr.’s old formula and a nod towards a certain strain of what disco indirectly became (minimal techno) rather than what it began as. If it weren’t for the diminutive clicks emblematic of microhouse, this album would already have been made a long time ago by Maurizio or Robert Hood, but let’s agree not to measure music by how much it promises to move its genre “forward.”

This album in particular should be measured instead by how much it swings, and that is quite a bit. The bottom line: anything by Antonelli Electr. is guaranteed ear-candy. Love and Other Solutions, as such, does not fail. And the disco element, while no longer a hyperbole, still makes the music danceable. The song “Pictures” is a good example.

“Pictures” features a bassline of intentional rigidity, a preposterous preset-sounding tone, which surfaces in all the right places. The string part is very short and never changes, and mostly just gives the mix some atmosphere. What makes the track is the bevy of percussions which confuse and exhilarate. You can definitely hear this music as straightforward, but the more attention you pay, the more you realize how much variation occurs in the clicks, the drums parts, and the sundry rhythmic sounds which all inevitably and somewhat inexplicably make sense together.

The dual beauty of Antonelli Electr. is the crisp production, needing repeated listens to really pick up the finer points, and yet simultaneously gratifying right away. It’s almost as if Electr. were determined to hide the complexity of his music beneath the hood, so that you have to look closely to understand the subtle mechanisms which make his songs what they are, to understand that his music doesn’t depend on simple formula but a very unusual percussive amalgam. But, if you aren’t interested in pursuing such an understanding, keep on dancing and be no less dignified for it.

By Ben Tausig

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