Digitalism

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These days, the rock clique feels no shame getting cozy with boom-thwack club tracks, thanks to the guitar- and synth-wielding purveyors of dance-punk. A purer form of electronic music, one firmly rooted in tech-house but unafraid to employ an occasional post-punk guitar lick, has popped up as of late. Bands like Cut Copy and Justice are among this crop, adding power-chord romps and edgy rhythmic changes to their four-on-the-floor beats.

Germany's Digitalism is the new kid in the club. The duo's music leans closely to dirty house, often recalling pop-tronica pioneers Daft Punk, while still injecting its icy, dark disco with distorted six-string outbursts. Jens Moelle's ESL vocal contributions may be grammatically challenged (“Am I not always be wanting this?”), but they inject warmth into the sometimes-clinical proceedings. Moelle and partner Ismail Tuefekci enjoy breaking up affected vocal snippets into base elements, like on the mood-building intro song “Magnets.” This device is also used on their revamping of the Cure's “Fire in Cairo” where Robert Smith's chopped-up refrain floats in over a nasty bassline. Digitalism also offers an effective trance breakdown, nudging a swirling acid synth or drifting melody to a climax of crisp snare hits. For all these tried-and-true tricks of dancefloor tracks, Digitalism's vision is unique, as it seamlessly brings a little rock to its rave.

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