By Katherine Turman
By Chris Kornelis
By Brian McManus
By Ray Cummings
By Nicholas Pell
By Chaz Kangas
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Sam Blum
Many of the 16 New York City artists who contributed to Electroclash conceptualize play in terms of getting some and the past as a destination rather than a point of departure. Paper and Vicesmarmy hipster rags both, and sponsors of last October's Electroclash festivalhave lauded these folks for their unrepentant art-foppery and explicitly recreational focus. Detroit Grand Poobahs, Chicks on Speed, Peaches (all of whom played the aforementioned showcase), DMX Krew, and Les Rythmes Digitales have made names for themselves on kindred dancefloors. A handful of Electroclashers deserve as much.
Just as Daniel Miller held his tongue even if it was in his cheekso, too, do his distant, apparently apolitical grandkids. That said, Chicks on Speed's cover of Grace Jones's cover of "Warm Leatherette" (not, unfortunately, included on the comp) turns the Normal's frown upside down. Where Danny Miller pooped, Electroclashers party. Miller probably just danced in front of the mirror. Not that the 'clashers refrain from checking themselves out, of course, butin the same way that Miller's aloofness couldn't contain his robopop appealthe best of them also capture the less seemly aspects of their glammer-puss images.
Take Khanride him, even. "Like a pony . . . like a dog." Literally. The quavering, sitar-backed vocals snuffing the greazy bass of "Ride Me" sound about as seductive as barnyard sex. Less suggestive of coke-addled sportfucking than Robitussin-induced impotence, the tune perverts its own campiness by being as genuinely creepy as it is danceable. (Not as bestial, but still delectably aberrant, are Linda Lamb's "Hot Room" and the tossed word salad of Robbie D.'s "Lotion.") In contrast, Soviet's "Candy Girl" posits crisp rhythms and melodic sparkle as the logical complement to the "sweet misery" of ersatz romance.
Strategies Against Architecture III: 1991-2001
Electroclash isn't entirely sex-obsessed. All but unlistenable and all the better for itKey Kommand's hilarious "Buzz Junkie" takes what might otherwise be precious scene-mockery and renders it dead serious. Fork-in-the-eye cell-phone trills, toe-stub beats, and static-washed Soho-speak churn with the assurance of Neubauten's harshest jackhammer suites, and cut as deftly to the paper heart of their milieu as Fad Gadget's aforementioned swan song. It's enough to make you see stars.
Mogul Electro, 518 East 6th Street, suite 7, NYC 10009; Mute, mute.com.