The Analog Session: Black Ground
As a group name, The Analog Session might suggest a nostalgic affection for times past, but the electronic music Alexander Robotnick and Ludus Pinsky produce under the name is anything but outdated. On Black Ground, their sophomore album as The Analog Session, the Italian duo coax a remarkable amount of white heat from their equipment, with music of effervescence and high energy the result. The hour-long collection convincingly shows that quality club material can be created just as credibly from vintage analog gear—wires, cables, knobs, and keyboards—as computers.
Though initially conceived of as a video project, The Analog Session gradually developed into an album (2013's April) and then a live project, too. Most of the ten tracks on Black Ground (two of them, the locomotive “Effai” and pumping “Ascension,” “Late Night” remixes previously available in digital form only) originated out of improvisations that Robotnick and Pinsky then edited into lithe, well-structured dance tracks free of flab.
Setting the tone for the album as whole, “My Dream” motors forward at a breathless clip as multiple layers of synthesizers operate in tandem to establish the cut's irrepressible momentum and kinetic drive. While stylistically the material might be classified as electro-house more than anything else, it's even more fundamentally funk music, albeit raw and earthy funk music of a distinctively electronic kind.
Throughout the recording, Robotnick and Pinsky stoke their spacey melodies with hard-grooving rhythms, whether it be the disco-swinging swagger of “Wild Electrons” or the sweltering acid-house of “Space Circle.” Infectious is the best word to apply to strutting body-shakers such as “Black Ground” (both the original and club mixes that are included) and “Lonely Dancers.” Black Ground engages on many levels, but perhaps the most fascinating thing about its material is how it strikes a well-calibrated balance between the sleek, glossy sheen of its synthesizer content and the raw physicality of its rhythmic undercurrents. As cerebral as the tracks might be in certain compositional respects, there's plenty of jump, too.