Disko - Ascii Disko (L'age D'or)
was heralded as the fashion-conscious, eighties-regurgitating
saviour of dance music when it first took the scene by storm
a few years ago. Everyone from serious techno-bod Dave Clarke
to US house DJ Felix Da Housecat were carried along by a
dayglo neon wave of camp synth tunes and self-conscious
came Fischerspooner and their million-pound
record deal with the Ministry of Sound and the electroclash
backlash began. The scene was so obsessed with fashion in
the first place that it had created it's own in-built, fad-sized
self-destruct button: fashions come and go and so electroclash
had to follow suit.
the genre lives on and is obviously still very close to
the heart of former indie guitarist Kat D.D. Rokk,
the man behind Ascii Disko. Clean beats and dirty basslines
are accompanied by lyrics spoken mostly in the former indie
guitarist’s German mother tongue. Perhaps it would
be helpful to have a grasp of the language to understand
the words but it could be assumed they cover the usual electroclash
ground of fashion, sex and dancing (while wearing fashionable
clothes and looking sexy obviously).
French and English song titles abound as the music forms
a synthetic, electronic orgy of euro-trance, robotic beats
and hard eighties-influenced cheese. 'Cool' is reminiscent
of an early Paul Van Dyk trance workout,
'Strassen' is the sound of an underground Berlin techno
club and 'Aldimarkt' is an ecstatic, high-energy, speaker-spanking
anthem but the strengths of many of the tunes are tempered
by the poor lyrical content. Whether afflicted with lame
English poseur chats ("You know you are cool")
or shouted German raps, the music may stand a better chance
of being allowed to shine without Rokk’s inane attempts
at sub-Underworld vocal gimmickry.
for the rest of the album, if you forget fashion for a minute,
some of these tunes have the edge to make you want to shake
your limbs and perhaps even your ass (as long as your ass
is expensively clad in something flourescent and synthetic
of course). The sleazy ride of 'Jack Your Body To The Beat'
with its huge bassline running throughout is enough to make
anyone want to don excessive amounts of bright pink mascara
and lipgloss and hit the dancefloor… well, almost
comes as a pleasant change of scenery with its mellow bass,
skipping cymbals and whispered vocals, but why the tiresomely
drawn-out steel drum style ending? Perhaps it's a way of
trying to hide the unlisted final track with it's helium
vocals and plodding robotic beats, but three minutes of
the same looped sound is self-indulgent at best, not to
mention extremely irritating for the listener.
album sparkles like a glitterball over a long deserted dancefloor.
As energetic and euphoric as parts of it are it cannot quite
raise itself above the glut of other electroclash acts out
there and suffers heavily from being formulaic, uninspired
and derivative. While the electroclash old guard of Felix
Da Housecat, Miss Kittin et al
have tried to push things forward a bit with their latest
material, Ascii Disko sticks rigidly to a tried and tested
musical template to produce a competent but largely unexciting
album that pushes no boundaries and breaks no rules.