It's not hard to detect vestiges of the sounds Los Angeles-based Mark Redito was listening to while crafting his Spazzkid outing Desire. J-pop and Bibio's 2011 album, Mind Bokeh, were strong inspirations for the album, as were the beats, post-dubstep, chillwave, and techno tracks Redito's peers were posting to Soundcloud. But Desire, produced in his bedroom between 2012 and 2013, is no patchwork of stolen sounds; instead, it's a playful and imaginative collection of candy-coloured electro-pop that feels like the best kind of sugar rush. Amazingly, Redito recorded most of the songs in single passes. As sound sources, he used home-made percussion, field recordings, and samples, all of which were then sliced, manipulated, and re-assembled to form the backbone of the tracks.
Spazzkid's breezy sound and pop sensibility is captured beautifully on the opening gem “Getting to Know You.” Buoyed by a loping groove and a sparkling glockenspiel melody, the tune flirts with a bossa nova feel in its acoustic guitar strums and wonky hip-hop in its vocal cut-ups and bass pulsations. Arcade blips and a number of other sounds surface, too, without ever, strangely enough, rendering the song incoherent. Instead, the elements nicely come together to turn the song into a frothy concoction.
Redito's got a strong ear for both melody and rhythm, as evidenced by jubilant jams like “40 Winks” and “Loving Free,” where memorable vocal lines are joined by fresh beats, many of them augmented by shotgun claps and deep bass lines. He's also a gifted arranger, as shown by the ear candy he sprinkles liberally throughout; sleigh bells and chimes are but two of the novel touches Redito works into “40 Winks,” for instance. Elsewhere, Spazzkid flirts with conventional dreampop form on “Candy Flavored Lips,” a soothing collaboration with Skymarines, and echoes of UK bass music emerge throughout the album, with the synth-smeared head-nodder “Marquez” one example of many. Those fluttering synths and lurching beats will be familiar to anyone cognizant of recent trends in bass music—even if such trends come and go at a dizzying pace. Dizzying, too, is Desire as a whole, though that doesn't prevent it from impressing as a polished collection of electronic pop.