Sinner DC: Crystallized
Ai Records

Arriving three years after the group's Mount Age debut, Crystallized is Sinner DC's second full-length outing on Ai. The Geneva trio (Manuel Bravo, Julien Amey, and Steve Mamie) wield samplers, software, and assorted gear (electronic and acoustic) like light sabers as they motor through nine trance-inducing tracks in an over-too-soon forty-two minutes.

The sequencing forms such a well-considered travelogue, it makes sense to follow it here too. Gleaming synthetic streams and pulsating drum patterns in “Go for the Stream” open the album with a promising electro-tinged overture, but the album slips into second gear with track two, “Anyway,” a vocal-based slice of shoegaze-electro entrancement, and then third with the smartly-titled “Golden Horses,” where an initial galloping throb mutates into a graceful glide ornamented by wordless vocals and charging synthesizer patterns. Augmented by expansive orchestral detail, the trio drapes vocal chants (“I give it to you / You give it to me”) over a surging schaffel groove in “The Medium is the Message.” A near-beatless, silken ambient interlude (“V”) floats through the album's center, chilling the pace temporarily before the languorous splendour of “Sunrized” and the epic electro-pop of “Glass Alley” and the M83-like “Digital Dust” (the album's arguable peak) appear on the horizon. The album's longest track, “Coast,” ends the album on a heavily atmospheric and, truth be told, relatively downbeat note. A half-speed techno pulse crawls through a reverberant nightscape where ethereal vocals murmur and tangly synth noises chatter until it finally expires, like a genie being sucked back into its bottle, in a slowly-disappearing haze.

The trio has honed the album's material to near-perfection and there's nary a misstep to be heard. Model 500 and Galaxie 500 are cited as influences by the group, and the selections go a long way towards suggesting Sinner DC's arresting blend of electro, techno, and trance styles.

April 2009