Boy Robot: Glamorizing Corporate Lifestyle
City Centre Offices

That Boy Robot's Glamorizing Corporate Lifestyle recalls Michael Zorn's The City's Collapsing (But Not Tonight) shouldn't surprise, as Boy Robot is a collaborative outing by Zorn and Hans Möller. Recorded in Berlin and Uppsala , the duo worked for over a year to produce the ten tracks, and is joined on two songs by vocalists Hanif Sabzevari from Sweden and Barrington “Faithful” Bisumber from Manchester. Three pieces in particular resemble The City's Collapsing (But Not Tonight), so much so that they could have been lifted from the same sessions. The mechano techno beats, shimmering keyboards, and sweeping masses of symphonic chords in the opener “Likely Silly and Waterful” immediately evoke the style of the earlier recording—not a bad thing when the piece is of such high quality, but a derivative move nonetheless. Similarly, “Glamorizing Corporate Lifestyle” combines a haunting, moody melody with looping beats, while “Old Habits Die Hard” is hypnotic, mechano-trance techno in that familiar Zorn mode. All three are mid-tempo pieces built from the gradual accretion of repeating, interwoven patterns, and all three, while competently constructed, advance little beyond the approach established on The City's Collapsing (But Not Tonight). Had the remaining songs revisited the style of Zorn's release to the same degree, Glamorizing Corporate Lifestyle would be a relative disappointment.

That's not the case, however, as the other tracks broaden the Zorn template, most notably “Set It For Me,” and especially “The Last Dance.” On “Set It For Me,” the tight funk rhythm and rasta-flavoured vocal toasting of Barrington 'Faithful' Bisumber push this irresistible track firmly onto the dance floor. “Just My Reflection and Me” moves Boy Robot into Basic Channel/Chain Reaction territory by borrowing one of its classic tech-house beats and overlaying it with delectable panning effects. It's marred, however, by the inclusion of Hanif Sabzevari's vocal emoting, which merely distracts attention away from the beautiful dub that churns beneath it. “Don't Panic It's Organic” is a pounding hoe-down tsunami that swells dramatically throughout the song's duration, while the stately “Loving You Makes Me Nervous” suggests some ancient gamelan group session. Its cavernous echo is accentuated by the pounding of a huge drum, while simulations of pan pipes and woodwinds float above the ceremonial rhythm. Other strong pieces include “My Heart's Still Beating,” whose swaying shuffle rhythm is accompanied by melodica playing and showers of sparkling electronics, and the closing “When Broken Consider It Sold” which alternates between church organ melancholy and crystalline euphoria. As satisfying as these diverse pieces are, “The Last Dance” is the recording's siren-like peak. It's a magnificent ballad whose shimmering layers of ascending and descending melodies build continuously and thereby generate an enormous tension and emotional pull. Simply put, Glamorizing Corporate Lifestyle represents another classy outing for the City Centre Offices label whose releases are modest in number yet are always—as is the case here—impeccably conceived and crafted.

November 2003