Vector Lovers: Vector Lovers

Weaned on a diet of Depeche Mode and Kraftwerk, Martin Wheeler (aka Vector Lovers), acquired his first synth, a Casio CZ101, during the ‘80s. But while he created music and computer games in the years that followed, his formal coming out didn't occur until last year's Roboto Ashido Funk, a 12” IDJ magazine called “one of the top ten electro/techno releases of 2003.” Which brings us to Wheeler's full-length debut. A quick glance at the album cover and track listing offers an immediate hint of the electro-synth 'robot music' contained within, a suspicion borne out by the opening song. With its syncopated beats, handclaps, and glistening, melancholy melodies, “Tokyo Glitterati” sounds like it might have been lifted from one of Suction Records' Snow Robots compilations, while other songs present mellow house-tinged grooves of bleeps and Rhodes sprinkles (“Telecom Meltdown”) or resurrect the disco era with squelchy electro-synth sounds (“Funk & Droid”); Wheeler even pays homage to New Order with “Electrosuite,” essentially a vocodered overhaul of “Blue Monday.” The album generally favours midtempo and uptempo modes though slower charmers emerge in the latter half. In the gorgeous “Yamanote Sundown,” he transplants his lush electro-synth style to the countryside, with sunlit vistas of factories dotting the horizon; the becalmed “Lake Nocturne” is similarly lovely, so elegant it verges on stateliness; “Solitaire” ends the set on a suitably delicate and introspective note. While Vector Lovers doesn't deviate drastically from the established electro-synth template, that's easy to overlook when its twelve tracks are so consistently strong.

November 2004