The Hacker: Magical Voyage (Tigersushi Periculum No. 5) (Tigersushi)
I remember reading a review of the Hacker’s last album with Miss Kittin on Pitchfork.com that basically trashed the entire notion that the duo (and even to an extent the artists on their own) were somehow remotely relevant in 2009. I didn’t agree necessarily — I’ve always felt that the Hacker has moved to the beat of his own drum machine, that his style is so particular and unto himself that it is in many ways timeless. Miss Kittin’s creative output has perhaps been more of a variable, sometimes nailing her own schtick while other times being saddled down by it, but in the case of their collaborations, let’s face it: It was always about the Hacker more than her vocal persona. This short and sweet EP for Tigersushi serves as yet another reminder that regardless of whether he’s on-trend or not, Michel Amato’s music is still quite good. He is still channeling the hey-day of Alexander Robotnick and early 80s Giorgio Moroder disco, but with an ear for current production standards. “Night Drive” kicks things off with a positively cinematic intro, all wavering chorus bass and bright arp lead. It has a really handsome dramatic flair that steps slightly outside of Amato’s usual fare. “Through the Ether” is perhaps a bit more typical, with a coursing bassline and a light airy snare hit, but its refrain is good fun. “Mind Games” could easily pass as an infectious electroclash anthem with Miss Kittin if it weren’t for Amato’s vocoder vocal standing in for her. It’s the punchiest of the three, with a crisp foreground snare and an undulating italo bassline, but it still works quite well as part of the set here. It reaffirms that while the Hacker might not be surprising me with new releases, he’s still a master at his craft, and these three tracks all are a testament to his strengths.