Chateau Marmont - Solar Apex

This is not dance music. This is Blade Runner with disco lights.

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Released 10 Mar 2009 | Institubes | By Martin Guttridge-Hewitt | Rating: 3-5
Chateau Marmont - Solar Apex

Much has changed in electronica since the hey-days of John Carpenter soundtracks and 'Trans-Europe Express'. Some argue that the retrospectively innocent arrangements created with now archaic analogue equipment have no place in a 21st Century filled with pedals, effects and real time digital production. Others remain adamant that the original purity of electronica has never been surpassed. This EP unabashedly appeals to the latter.

Sharing their name with the Hollywood hotel synonymous with glamour, excess and decadence is both fitting and ironic. The space-saws loom large in the background, whilst the whole thing remains beautifully understated in comparison with the darlings of the French electronic scene, Justice and Daft Punk. The key difference being that this is not dance music. This is Blade Runner with disco lights.

From opener 'Maison Klaus', which reeks of 'Oxygene', conjuring inter-stellar travel in the 1970s flashing button vein, it's clear that Chateau Marmont have little interest in attracting anyone other than the most die hard of synth-obsessed futureheads. Sharing as much as they do with the aforementioned genre pioneers prevents new ground being broken, however the slightly closer proximity of this to an ode as oppose to straight copyright infringement ensures satisfaction, as oppose to boredom.

'Diane' fires things off into second gear. A Georgio Moroder bassline on heat leads the attack, complete with vocoder effects and lots and lots of whooshing. Whilst 'Solar Apex' joins 'Maison' in the cinematics camp, the EP is rounded off, oddly, with a full-bodied, Hot Chip-cum-Matthew Dear vocal number that does enough by way of the contemporary dancefloor to add a new layer to the package, whilst remaining rooted in the sound of the earlier tracks.