Brian E: Yellow Light District
Record Label Records

The thirty-seven breathless minutes of Brian Ellis's Yellow Light District will be manna from heaven for those with a jones for Italo-electro tracks and the sounds of old-school synth gear and drum machines (OB8, Jupiter 8, Prophet 5, LinnDrum). The San Diego-based producer favours an epic and effervescent attack that burns as brightly as anything by Giorgio Moroder, Black Devil Disco Club, or Kerrier District, and his six tracks overflow with layers of creamy synthesizer melodies, sputtering bass lines, and charging drum beats. The opener, “Theme,” sets the tone with a grandiose Italo workout coated in blindingly bright textures and driven by pulsating rhythms. Sounding at times like a Madonna-less “Borderline” amped to the max, “Electric City” singlehandedly evokes an entire decade with its classic synthesizer blaze and boogieing club rhythms. A similarly jubilant vibe animates “Sinistyle” before the breakneck thrust of “Tokyo Rock” rolls out. B-Boy beat patterns and Kraftwerk-styled themes bring a respectively funky and dystopic dimension to the set in “Scorpion Kingdom,” after which a hard-wired, nine-minute cover of MAGMA's prog-fest “De Futura” closes the album. Do yourself a favour: ignore the release's ridiculously bad cover illustration and enjoy Ellis's twelve-inch yellow (!) vinyl release for the raving electro blast that it is.

September 2009