Micromars

Metro (S.H.A.D.O.)

In the early days of electronic instruments, the use of such noisemakers virtually guaranteed that the resulting music, good or bad, would have a certain metallic/robotic feel. But that's becoming a thing of the past. Thanks to better equipment and an increase in the number of artists able to take advantage of it, synthetic musical tools often sound as warm and inviting as the kind that still need to be blown, plucked, drummed or caressed. As such, juxtapositions of devices from different eras aren't as harsh and grating as they once were. Today, to paraphrase Rodney King, they can all get along.

On Metro, Norway's Christer Andre Jensen, the man behind Micromars, demonstrates this principle with skill and charm. "I Know About It," which kicks off the proceedings, is a pleasurable pop wave that rides atop a wah-wah-ing keyboard sound occasionally supplemented with whooshes and whirrs; "Mobile" blends a rhythm track seemingly borrowed from Atari with nonsense syllables courtesy of Jensen that are pure bliss; "Spatial Localization" swings with loungey sophistication atop a bed of real drums (at least they seem real) and simulated keyboards (at least they seem simulated); and "Cargo" uses old-fashioned guitar and organ and a raft of newfangled gizmos to swooningly seductive effect.

As demonstrated by the ditty tellingly titled "Why Didn't My Parents Buy Me a Casio," Jensen has a sense of humor about the game of sonic détente he's playing, but Metro is no joke. Rather, it's pleasurable, alluring, and as natural as if it had been made using nothing more than a voice and an upright piano. Ain't technology grand?

 
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