There is no way of sugaring it: the concept of Analog Session, a project that sees veteran artists Alexander Robotnick and Ludus Pinsky improvising on 1970s synthesisers, sounds dull. But don't click back. Don't roll your eyes. As unlikely as it may sound, April, the duo's latest album, is effervescence itself, propulsive champagne techno.
The format (long, scrolling tracks) and the sound palette (part Krautrock, part Italo disco) is familiar enough. But the assembly is fresh. The tempos are faster, the sound much meatier and the tracks more direct than the archive material from that period. Rather than aping the often sparse nature of early synthesiser music, Robotnick and Pinsky adlib around pre-set sequences in something close to a frenzy. They overlay predictable arpeggio basslines with all manner of textures, melodic flourishes and miniaturised sonic kinks. Each track seems to be constantly evolving and morphing, like cells multiplying under a microscope.
The galloping "Strange Fruits," for instance, is laced with elongated bongs, wobble-boards and weird, sonar-like echoes. Likewise, the title track's clusters of punched-out melody and soaring synths sound unexpectedly Chinese. Indeed, Robotnick has worked on many world music projects, and most Analog Session melodies have a distinct Eastern and North African flavour.
The results are not just interesting as an experimental attempt to prove that vintage analogue kit is still superior—they could be played out, in a club, tonight. "Little Grudges," a cut of glowering EBM-ish electro writhing in black latex, would fit nicely in Dettmann's crate, just as the Spirograph patterns of "Distant Voices" might turn on Lindstrøm. The frosty ambience of "Effai," meanwhile, could end up in one of Dixon's more exploratory sets. Pinsky and Robotnick say their aim was not to recreate a 1970s sound, but to revive that decade's progressive spirit. Yet for all its retro style, April sounds like the work of two eager young pups.