Tokyo Black Star have always been the Black Sheep of Innervisions, an act seemingly at odds with the imprint's smooth house aesthetic. And while it's nice to hear the label testing the waters with different sounds—Muting the Noise was a particularly solid counterpoint to Kompakt's Pop Ambient series—it's hard to understand exactly what Dixon and Âme see in this duo in the context of Innervisions.
"Game Over" doesn't offer much in the way of answers: It has a stiff funkiness that doesn't approach the sublime territory of Kraftwerk, mixing a stolid four-to-the-floor kick to some echoed dub snare and a cascading synth line. It's eventually joined by two 8 bit riffs, but hardly does much else along the way. It's not house. It's not techno. It's not particularly engaging home-listening electronica. And it ain't good as something somewhere in between all of that either. "Sepiaphone" hardly does better, making like Plone or Plaid with its polite, melodic breakbeat IDM. Warp did this better—and comprehensively so—in the mid '90s.
Loco Dice's rework of "Game Over" will be of interest to the DJs in the audience. He and Martin Buttrich do their best with the material, stretching things out to more than 11 minutes, but it suffers from the same problem as the original: Floating in place with no semblance of forward momentum, it simply marks time waiting for a hook to lift it out of the murk. I'm sure that descending bassline and unmoored synth do it for some jocks, but there are far more compelling ways to stand still.
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Tracklist: Tokyo Black Star - Bit Commander EP A1 Game Over
B1 Game Over (Loco Dice 5am At The Tsukiji Market Rmx)