Plant43/Datassette: Split 1
Ai Records

More Ai vinyl goodness to set your heart aflame (apparently a limited number available in green vinyl format, along with the standard black), this time a split EP with three cuts by Plant43 (Emile Facey) on one side and four by Datassette (J M Davies) on the other (different tunes by both artists already appeared on the recent Ai sampler).

Mix classic Kraftwerk “Autobahn” beats with cascades of gleaming synths and what d'ya have? Plant43's sparkling “Light Pollution,” that's what. The moodier “Sidelight” chills the pace slightly, bathing its clickety groove with smeary splashes, while “Hollow” plunges even deeper into the foreboding murk, nestling a Detroit mechano-pulse next to snake-like rattles and ammo fire. By his own admission, Facey's Plant43 project is inspired as much by Chaka Khan as Kraftwerk but, while that might be true, it's the latter influence that's more conspicuous. In general, Plant43 is sleek techno of the Drexciya and Juan Atkins vintage getting cozy with precision Düsseldorf engineering.

Flip the disc for the stabbing ‘80s-styled electro-funk of “Flechte,” a definite highlight of the release. Though Datassette's sound is clearly indebted to Kraftwerk too, he broadens his electronic style with soul and Italo. The jubilant feel of the latter courses through “Zigzag” while a dense orchestral haze submerges “Hiddenarea,” though not so much that beats can't be heard pulsating below the surface. Elsewhere, “Can You Smell Maths?” assails Kraftwerk beats and chunky bass synths with a hailstorm of arcade bleeps and whirrs. Given that the sampler featured eight new Ai signings in all, does this mean we can expect three more split discs? Let's hope so.

May 2006