There’s nothing to “get” about Vitalic. The shadowy European producer specializes in brutalizing electro-techno anthems that are about as subtle as a cement mixer. For DJs worldwide, Vitalic’s 2001 cult classic Poney EP became the equivalent of carrying around a defibrillator in a record bag; any lifeless set could instantly be brought back from the dead with it.
Like most good DJ tricks, though, this tactic soon got overplayed. Part of the problem was that Vitalic was frustratingly unprolific; up until this year, he only had a few tracks to his name. That’s finally remedied with OK Cowboy, which collects the classic tunes from Poney EP and adds a bunch of hard-rocking new synthesizer workouts. Listening to it from start to finish is so bracing it’s overwhelming; it sounds like what it would feel like to drink six cups of black coffee chased down with a bucket of ice water.
“My Friend Dario,” the first new single, is a perfect illustration of how the Vitalic machine operates. A relentlessly looping treadmill-to-hell melody, complete with dumb nonsense lyrics, suddenly breaks down into an unspeakably euphoric, fist-pumping chorus.
To paraphrase Sasha Frere-Jones writing on the Clash, everyone is invincible the minute it starts playing.