Fancy Mike: Sigma Chi Primavera
King Deluxe

The dust has barely settled on Fancy Mike's previous outing, Madison Square Gardner, and already we've got another one burning up the tarmac. As before, Sigma Chi Primavera's tracks hit hard and fast, with Mike Kleine managing to pack a dozen of'em into a forty-minute set. Using analog-driven gear, the twenty-one-year-old Minnesotan beat-maker (and current French History and Literature student) excels at spinning tripped-out variations on lo-fi, synth-based instrumental music and takes inspiration from soundtrack music, electro, synth-pop, crunk, and retro-futurist hip-hop, though not necessarily in that order. Perhaps he's trying to make up for lost time, given that he's only been producing music under the Fancy Mike name since 2008.

The release sets sail with a starry-eyed reading of a theme from Angelo Badalamenti's “Twin Peaks” but not all of the material twinkles so beatifically. With its frenetic 8-bit synth noodling and beat blaze, the second cut, “Adult Swim,” situates us in more familiar Fancy Mike territory, the somersaulting track the aural equivalent of an out-of-conrol carnival ride. An early high point arrives when Pixelord brings the bass thunder and blaze to a crunk-styled “Tron Cat” remix of “Ramachandran,” and beware as well the lethal bass-drop of “Ramachandran #666 (Alphabets Heaven's Mephistopheles Mix).” Not everything hits the bullseye—the mid-album cut, “Lazer Opera #58008 (Jack Contra's Pagliacci Reprise),” threatens to go off the rails when an opera singer forces his way into the already overloaded mix—but all's forgiven when something as sweet as “Ramachandran #323 (Bugseed's Sequel)” enters the picture. Its generally languorous vibe is the exception to the rule on this oft-frenzied collection, which makes the song's serenading swing all the more appealing. A number of guests join Kleine on the recording, namely Stephen Farris, Montgomery Clunk, Starfawn, and Constrobuz, but the album ends up sounding very much like Fancy Mike's show.

May 2011