Shiny techno with style and substance...
Soul? Oh, don’t be so passe, darling. Pleasures of the flesh? Boring. Why not try something synthetic instead? The sheer aesthetic loveliness of a super-compact Minidisc, or the soft trill of a mobile phone. And ‘The First Album’, by Munich’s Miss Kittin And The Hacker.
Kittin dresses as a nurse, dances professionally in nightclubs, and appears as a guest vocalist on Felix Da Housecat records. Hacker’s a techno producer with a hitherto-repressed passion for Human League and the Pet Shop Boys. And – like their peers The Faint, Cut Copy, and Fischerspooner – their debut for DJ Hell’s International Deejay Gigolo imprint, ‘The First Album’, is all about getting nostalgic about the future. At least, the future as it’s imagined in ‘1982’ – all minimal pin-prick bleeps, New-Deutsch-meets-Old-Detroit techno production, effortlessly sexy Germanic vocals, and dizzy, seratonin-soaked synth whooshes. In a nutshell, this is Madonna‘s ‘Vogue’ reworked by Underground Resistance.
And where, at first, it seems uncomfortably arch, burrow beneath the surface sheen and this is an album that actually feels. ‘Life On MTV’ and ‘Frank Sinatra’ take up the scalpel of sarcasm, dissecting celebrity culture into gobbet-sized soundbites: [I]’To be famous is so nice/Suck my dick, kiss my ass'[/I], spits Miss Kittin, like a jaded starlet, on the latter. Elsewhere, it’s simply all about immersing yourself in the sheer electronic buzz of dance music. [I]’They’re all dancing to the groove/Of my cell phone ringing like a non-stop metronome'[/I], goes ‘Stock Exchange’, as a heavenly synth line raises every hair on the back of your neck.
It may not spray out its passions in great big emotionally incontinent bladderfuls, as is de rigueur in modern indie circles. And yes, that might be a faintly self-important sneer playing across its glossy lips. But ‘The First Album’ kicks like a stiletto-heeled dominatrix, and just when you don’t expect it, sneaks in and strokes your heartstrings too.