Art Support Machine is the debut album from French-House producer Electrosexual focusing on the concept of ‘the machine as the supreme vision of the human condition’. This is achieved through a mixture of warm, kaleidoscopic synth arpeggios over familiar organic sounds conjured up from his Berlin-based bunker/studio.
Synth fetishists will be together in electric wet dreams over the hardware used on this album, an enviable list of vintage synths from the 1970s-90s giving the sound an unpredictable glow which sets it apart from a lot of the syncopated but overpolished electronica from this digital age. If you are not yet drooling then let me tell you also that this album is available on vinyl!
It’s not all about the synths though and vocals do dominate on occasion to give a more conventional song structure, whether it’s the distorted sloganeering of the title track or the catchy call-to-arms of “Out of Place”. There is plenty of variety in the thirteen songs here with the upbeat acid stomp of “Fetish(ASFR)” contrasting with the woozy calm of “Crystal Flesh”. There are also occasional nods to synthpop. Lead single “Lay My Eye” has hints of OMD’s “Messages” but is twisted with repetitive minimal tech elements and ‘Silver Soul’ sounds like it could have come from Billy MacKenzie’s Outernational album.
The highlight however is the hypnotic, Moroder-esque “The Way They Make You Feel”, with a delicate vocal oozing with sparse seduction and mystery. It is like an anti-“I feel love”* for the twenty-first century, bemoaning conformity and a loss of individuality. Despite being over 6 minutes long you will want to play it again immediately.
In these days of ‘loudness wars’ the use of analogue can often sound dated and while there are similarities at times to the early work of fellow European artists GusGus and Sven Väth this is a very modern soundtrack, a trans-Europe expression of nostalgia and identity where rhythmic motion evokes emotion, the machine guiding your human mind.
*referring to ‘I feel love’ by Donna Summer, not the separate
2010 Electrosexual release (featuring Mz Sunday Luv) which is also worth checking out!
— Paul Davies