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Metamatics: Instamatic (XTT Recordings)

Lee Norris’s Metamatics moniker is one I grew to associate with melodic, quality-controlled electronic music that split the difference between IDM (in its circa-’00 shape) and vintage broken beat electro. So at first I had to ask myself what I felt hearing the sweeping opening fifths of “Neon Future Blue,” a gorgeous cut that picks up right where his last album, 2003’s From Death to Passwords, left off. On the one hand, over ten years have passed and Norris is still traversing rather familiar territory, not having strayed far at all from his last offering… and yet, does that matter when it sounds so great? Norris throws down a little bit more straightforward of an electro groove on many cuts here, sounding like a fusion of his Hydrogen Dukebox stuff and his more lush previous album.Instamatic by Metamatics

This is all music that is pretty functional for a dancefloor (though the tempo varies significantly over the span of its nine tracks), but it’s an album that inspires me to feel inward rather than to move outward. Even a robotic number like “Metamatix” inspires a gut feeling within, an acknowledgement of mood more than the impulse to move my body. A real highlight for me is “Cosmic Emotion,” a fairly apt title considering its melancholic groove and bleeps and blips that dance in the spaces between. The most physical of the bunch is probably the twitchy robotic funk of “Ghinel,” with its sputtering chatter and wobbly bass zaps, but often Norris splits the difference between something more fully utilitarian and evocative headphones listening. In that sense, despite how familiar the music sounds, Instamatic is a rousing success, showing off Norris’s talents as a producer at the top of his game, a concise nine-track arc that is consistently good from start to finish.

Buy it: Bandcamp