Music » CD Reviews

The Parallax Corporation

Cocadisco (Viewlexx)

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Hailing from the Hague and named after a '70s paranoid conspiracy film, the Parallax Corporation is the leading figure behind the worldwide Eurodisco revival. Actually, it's pretty much the only figure involved in it, but the band's sputtering retro weirdness really should be the next contagion to take over every dance floor on earth. It won't. For inspiration, Corporation chairmen I-f and Intergalactic Gary mine the work of Italian electronic pioneer and film score master Giorgio Moroder (Blade Runner, Scarface), a truly deviant miscreant whom most contemporary house and techno producers seem intent on forgetting. Sound systems at raves and big clubs are still under the sway of the always soaring, forever uplifting -- and to these ears, mostly soulless -- trance of Sasha, Digweed, Paul Oakenfold, and their wannabes.

Whereas trance imagines a brave new world without basslines and beats free of friction, Cocadisco evokes a dystopia where technology is sinister and has a plan of its own. A sampled voice on "(Searching for a) Cybernetic Lover" declares, "We aren't dealing with ordinary machines here . . . in some cases they've been designed by other computers. We don't know exactly how they work." The Parallax Corporation distrusts the latest desktop-driven music programs, too, opting instead for archaic synthesizers and drum machines to get brooding tones and chunky drum sounds. Freaky, very Euro-sounding vocals give an eerie, James Bond-era, Shirley Bassey-on-coke feeling to "Lift Off" and "Crocodiles in the Sky." A number of tracks feature hand percussion, which also lends a throwback quality. But this isn't just a study in re-creating the lost sounds of electronic music's brackish backwaters. The production aesthetics and arrangements are distinctly forward-looking. Here's hoping for a widespread Parallax corporate takeover.

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