Ascii Disko - Ascii Disko
UK Release Date:

2 February 2004

Track Listing:

1. Immer
2. Ne Travailler Jamais
3. Strassen
4. Cool
5. Jetzt
6. Aldimarkt
7. Einfach
8. Jack Your Body to the Beat
9. Moi, Je Veux
10. Photos
11. Schanze

Ascii Disko - Ascii Disko (L'age D'or)
•• Published: SoundsXP, July 2004
Original article:

Electroclash 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 cooler-than-cool lyrics.

Then 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.

But 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).

German, 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.

As 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 enough.

'Photos' 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.

This 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.

- Ian Roullier

Copyright © Ian Roullier 2004-2014