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Lifestyles of the Laptop Café

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Album Review

It was long rumored (and later confirmed) that the anonymous producer behind the Other People Place guise is James Stinson, one half of Detroit electro geniuses Drexciya, but with the familiar jazzy tech-house rhythms that fill most of Lifestyles of the Laptop Café, it could be anyone with an ear for early Detroit techno. In fact, very much of the record sounds like the work of second-wave visionary Carl Craig. A sophisticated structure emerges from Lifestyles that is held up primarily with deep bass and warm synths. The rain-drenched, dark-street rhythms and liquidy chords that comprise the leadoff "Eye Contact" (and other standouts like "Moonlight Rendezvous and "It's Your Love) recall Derrick May's "Strings of Life" while carrying with them an entirely new theme. "Eye Contact is one such track that is spiced with soothing spoken lyrics intended to lampoon '90s culture (the male voice re-enacts a falling-in-love-from-across-the-room-whilst-sipping-a-latte situation; very '90s, indeed). Lifestyles is at least on par with any of the Detroit records of old, but where radio-friendly Inner City might have failed, Other People Place picks up, maintaining the high dance factor but with zero cheese factor. Detroit techno serves as a touchstone for Lifestyles, but this record is hardly a nostalgic throwback to those idealistic times. Instead, every track treats the music respectfully, pushing forward in a very new groove.

Lifestyles of the Laptop Café, The Other People Place
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