Get on your dancing shoes.
The UK may be critical of their food and the US may be wary of their attitude to war but lets face it, the French know what they are doing with dance music. Daft Punk, Ivan Smagghe, Blackstrobe, Ettiene De Crecy and Cassius are just a handful of names who throughout the years have provided track after track of immense quality and given this writer some pretty memorable times. Another act to add to that list would have to include The Hacker, who initially offered a techno sound but on his previous work with Miss Kittin found himself to be one of the innovators and early movers of the electro scene.
'A.N.D. N.O.W' is The Hacker's second mix album and although the packaging screams "no computers, no editing" when refering to the mix, the choice of tracks are by far the more interesting element. Not fully utilising the modern technology showcases a skill and talent when so many contempories get by relying on the modern age but at the end of the day, the buyer is going to be shelling out for this album depending on the quality of it and not necessarily on how old-school and authentic it is deemed to be.
Its a very good mix collection, one that gets the tempo up very early on and keeps it there for the duration and for that, there can no be faulting The Hacker. The criticism would come in for the fact that the album may be playing it too safe with a handful of tracks having already appeared in sets and mixes by the likes of Smagghe or Optimo (Espacio). This is no bad thing as it means there is a certain consistency and popularity to the songs chosen and have all been succesfully roadtested but with complilations, there is always the hope for something new or undiscovered to make it stand out.
By the time the third track 'Los Ninos Del Parque' kicks in, the funky underlying beat has already wormed its way around the listener and sets the scene for the following tracks to kick it off and push the record on. 'Elephant Island' mixes Kraftwerk-like cold electronic stabs with an underlying beat that positively bounces and squelches along the way and has been a floor-filler.
Its not a collection overly filled with vocals so new listeners may not find it too easy to come into but tracks such as 'Brain Is Lost' or 'Flesh & Bone' offer enough verses and choruses for those who need their vocals to chant along to. The fact that all the songs have some brilliant underlying beats and flows to them, shouldn't go unamissed.
Perhaps this reviewer won't be preaching to anyone who is listening on RoomThirteen but if anyone is remotely interested in dance or electro then an album such as this offers a perfect opportunity to dip your toes into the murky waters. Taking the ideals of Kraftwerk and Blondie and moving them on thirty years and giving them some more excitement form the crux of electro music and is certainly nothing to be feared.
For some, this album won't go far enough but as a collection of all that is good and lovable about electro music, The Hacker has hit the spot here.