Mux Mool: Drum EP

Andre Obin: Colorwheel

Tonight: Modern Romance

Three stylistically varying EPs from Moodgadget uphold the label's reputation for quality music-making. Boston-based Andre Obin gets things moving with the two-tracker Colorwheel and the only complaint is that it's over too damn soon. Snapping snares and pounding kick drums power the title cut while synth swarms and vocals, so distorted they verge on indecipherable, lend colourful entrancement. Even better, the surging “Angel Dust” writhes and skips with a deep disco-trance slam that could make The Field jealous.

On Modern Romance, Tonight work up four luscious samplings of synth-pop splendor with Stacy's (first names only please) laconic voice gliding atop Darin's glorious Solvent-styled arrangements. The duo smartly humanizes its plastic pop with her natural voice instead of rendering it more synthetic with vocoder treatments. Songs range from the effervescent “When Galaxies Form” (“I just want to dance with you / Feels like galaxies form when we move”) to the dreamily melancholic “Nebula.” Electro-pop lovers will think they've gone to heaven when the radiant chorus kicks in during the pumping “Pop Charts.”

Instrumental hip-hop heads should cotton to the seven crisp head-nodders on Mux Mool's Drum EP. Par for the Moodgadget course, the Minnesota native's svelte sketches are less grimy than refined though no less appealing for being so. Harpsichord and strings dance over boom-bap in “Drum Daughter” while soulful runs by Annie Lennox wrap themselves around the Rhodes-driven kick of “Continuum of Drum Misery.” There's also One/Three-styled beat crunch (“Drum Babylon”) and swoon-inducing flow (“The Self-Inflicted Drum”). Only “Drums with Audible Python” disappoints by being too repetitive to justify its four-minute running time.

June 2008