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Someone Gave Me Religion

Arnaud Rebotini

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Album Review

Arnaud Rebotini's second solo album almost feels at points like a personal tour through the past decades of popular electronic music. If it weren't for the fact that he's been working as part of Black Strobe for a decade and a half, the long, swooning drones and core melodic swirl on the opening "The First Thirteen Minutes of Love" could almost seem like something from the new upswelling of space/synth rock revisiters of recent years. But there's a way that the song builds that signals Rebotini's deep roots in techno's impact instead of drone exploration. One song may be called "Echoes," for example, but the debt to Meddle-era Pink Floyd is at most implied rather than explicit, even as the soft synth swirls kick around a buried trance bassline and beat that later resolves into a brisk, enjoyably slick arrangement. Not for nothing is a later song on the album called "All You Need Is Techno," as engagingly alien and robotic as anything else Rebotini has done but with a focused edge so compelling that it's impossible not to dance even as you hear the chill of his treated voice and the dramatic high melody that emerges toward the end of the song. Meanwhile, the aggressive Front 242/D.A.F.-styled synth fills and clipped beats on "Personal Dictator" — and what more appropriate title could that be — aren't unexpected, and neither is how he builds up the bassline a minute in, a collision of approaches familiar from Black Strobe work in general and again given a great run-through here. (And while it's not an unfamiliar element in his work or elsewhere, using a particular synth vocal effect two and a half minutes in is a bit of a cheeky nod to New Order.) When the vocoders and Moroder basslines on "Another Time, Another Place" herald the beats, the mix of spiky EBM synth stabs, handclaps, and unashamed four-to-the-floor beats shows how well Rebotini finds the exaltation in the dark and unsettling.

Someone Gave Me Religion, Arnaud Rebotini
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