Les Rythmes Digitales - Darkdancer (2CD Edition)
Thanks to a car ad, Les Rythmes Digitales (aka Jacques Lu Cont or Stuart Price) recently saw his single Jacques Your Body (Make Me Sweat) crash the top ten. Surprisingly, perhaps, that track and this album were originally released at the tail-end of the 90s.
The paths trodden on Darkdancer are well worn by now. From Disco To Disco, for example, is a scratchy slice of disco-funk freakout, featuring 80s synth sounds and a robotic voice intoning the title. The majority of these tunes don't deviate far from that template. Sometimes robot voices are swapped for human samples, but DNA-wise the record is very similar to Daft Punk's Homework, which preceeded it by a couple of years. Unfortunately, there's nothing here that matches the sheer genius of Da Funk.
Price occasionally takes a song-based approach. The harder Soft Machine ("I've got Lucifer rising in my head") and the Leftfield-ish slow-burning Damaged People hint at a darker side, both lyrically and sonically. Take A Little Time, with vocals by Shannon, is the kind of retro-pop Richard X (producer of Freak Like Me, Being Nobody and Finest Dreams) would later make a career of - and slips down just as nicely. However, Sometimes, a so-so collaboration with 80s singer Nik Kershaw, is easily outshone by its cute stuffed-toy video.
CD two consists of extra tracks and remixes. Best is the LRD remix of (Hey You) What's That Sound?, its smiley-faced early 90s vibe actually quite surprising. The aforementioned video for Sometimes is also present, as is the hilarious 80s-styled clip for (Hey You)... (watch out for the Boy George cameo).
Darkdancer doesn't feel dated - nor does it feel particularly fresh. Although solid enough and a calling card for remix work with the likes of New Order, Madonna and Scissor Sisters, there's often a feeling this sort of thing has been done more memorably elsewhere.