Interdimensional Transmissions From Beyond

Ann Arbor's Brendan Gillen, of electro-purist outfit Ectomorph, has assembled a nicely off-kilter collection of neo-electro tracks on this compilation of his label's 12-inch singles series. The tracks vary from a few bpms just this side of booty, to straight-up new wave. Gillen makes the case for electro both as kitschy, futuristic funk, and as techno at its sexiest and most primal here, with great results. The new wave of I-f's "Space Invaders are Smoking Grass" is an 808 drum machine take on indie pop, replete with lo-fi vocoder vocals and building computer rhythms. Anthony Shakir's "Freeform" is a free-range keyboard workout, an undancey exercise in jazzbo ennui.

Sluts in Strings' "Starchild" is a rowdy jeep beat for a parallel universe, full of numb bass pulses and skittering drums under sci-fi vocal effects. Likewise, Detroit visual artists-knob tweakers Le Car kick in with "Version 19," sounding like a garage version of Devo trying to approximate Gary Numan's theater-sized cool. The almost nerdy funk that ensues is as animated as a video game and full of the same hand-held excitement. Former Detroiter Will Web delivers the feverish "Damnation," which bumps synthy uglies under a haywire highline. "Future Shock" by DJ Godfather bounces along its almost-booty way, while a gurgling synthline brings it back from the edge of bass.

But for all the general statements From Beyond makes about electro (its pre-techno funkiness, its link to new wave, its grittier, retro-electronica DIY sound), it's the compilation's most offbeat cuts that give it its repeated listenabilty.

The late, great Spacelings & Bassheads, favorites on the Detroit rave scene, deliver a cosmically sloppy hip-hop in "Never Trust a Coward" that Kool Keith would kill to rap over. Aux 88 founder Keith Tucker's "Vertigo" hints at the cinematic glow of late '80s Detroit techno in its moodier groove. Mu-zique's Mike Paradinas delivers the gorgeous, zero-gravity "Hi-Q" as beautiful and doomed as the Mir space station. Beyond, indeed. Highly recommended.

Scroll to read more Music News articles

Newsletters

Join Detroit Metro Times Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.