Art techno or future new wave? In the past year, many buzzwords have surrounded the underground electronic scene, as analog synthesizers and old-school drum machines have become the norm. But the truth is, techno has been steeped in art-school rhetoric since Juan Atkins and Derrick May discovered Alvin Toffler. The entire genre, after all, is in debt to Kraftwerk, the group that defined arty pretentiousness.
Fischerspooner, then, should not be seen as a retro ensemble, even though its music is steeped in synth and New Romantic attitude. The duo (Warren Fischer and Casey Spooner) incorporates a variety of influences, not just new wave. The first single, "Emerge," combines analog synth and New Order vocals with the desolate sound of Detroit techno and the clubby high energy of Eurodisco. The same formula works on the album's closer, "Natural Disaster." The best track on the album, the instrumental "Ersatz," is a cross between OMD and Autechre, a brooding '80s anthem complete with stops and repeated notes that could only be created with modern digital effects. The result is an album that's as enjoyable as it is disposable, a true postmodern artwork.