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Virtual Origami

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Album Review

2001 was definitely a nostalgic year for electro enthusiasts. With artists such as Adult., Miss Kittin & the Hacker and Tiga, taking steps back toward to their technically simplistic roots, one can't help but consider the irony of Stanley Kubrick's hopeful aesthetic in his film 2001 — A Space Odyssey.

Nevertheless, on Virtual Geisha, Detroit's Japanese Telecom (an offshoot of electro kings Drexciya,) eschew all progression in favor of hard, spare beats and crunchy synths for a supreme rendition of the genre from which they take all influence. And as per usual, the (supposed) duo remains totally anonymous on this release. Virtual Geisha is as good as any of the early electro masters (Man Parrish, Mantronix,) as they pay strict attention to melody and lo-fi production, exploring the mysterious sounds of cold machines and evoking the feeling of pre-renaissance, 1980s Detroit.

Tracks like "Virtual Origami" and "Cigarette Lighter" are dance-floor gems, employing the simplest electro formula of Moroder-esque bass, cheap machine drums, a melodic synth line and oddly flecked noises overlaid. It's what makes any song good — a simple rhythm, beat, and melody. Japanese Telecom embraces the most basic studio techniques, leaving behind the whistles and bells and creating a sparse, electronic masterwork.


Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Ever since Juan Atkins dubbed himself Model 500 in the mid-'80s, it has become somewhat of a tradition for Detroit electro artists to shroud themselves in mystery, hiding behind odd monikers and leaving listeners to guess the alter ego. Add Japanese Telecom to this confusing roster of colorfully named Detroit electro artists, alongside Ectomorph, Cybotron, Dopplereffekt, AUX 88, Drexicya, Adult, and countless others. Japanese Telecom's unique sound differs a bit from the aforementioned Detroit artists'...
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Virtual Origami, Japanese Telecom
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