Zachary Cole Smith has overcome a multitude of problems to make this intensely powerful album
Video Computer System
Known to his mum and dad as [B]Anthony Chapman[/B], [B]Scissorkicks[/B] is beatmaster with World Cup soft-drink rap-rockers [a]Collapsed Lung[/a] and remixer to the likes of [B]Bis[/B], [B]Freestylers
There's a soul-crushing air of officially approved style-mag cool about his debut album's sleeve, an '80s revival pastiche of Atari's original Space Invaders game, but thankfully the musical contents are way too lively and diverse to serve as mere fashion accessories. Sure, the clunky electro-funk of 'Best Get Ready' and cheesy vocal samples of 'Because I Like The Disco' might be considered studied kitsch, but they also belt along with the same refreshingly upbeat enthusiasm as Jacques Lu Cont at - a Harold Faltermeyer concert. - Self-mocking nostalgia, maybe. Self-deflating irony, definitely not.
Chapman is equally keen to delve into timeless forms like the sleek uptown funk phenomenon of 'I Wanna Rock!', which ebbs and swells to a thunderous neo-disco anthem worthy of Armand Van Helden. Then there is the big beat meatiness of 'Lost Luggage' and the mutant acid dub of 'Champagne & Gunshots', neither of which feels like gratuitous ecleticism.
Elsewhere there are squelching basslines and junglist flurries galore. But perhaps the only track where Chapman truly distinguishes himself as an original artisan rather than a merely skilled stylist is 'Increased Lethality', which lives up to its cinematic title with storming Dambusters orchestration over pulverisingly chunky breakbeats. Otherwise, 'Video Computer System' is a commendably thorough summing-up of late-'90s dance styles which does its job with unfussy flair and efficiency.
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