Tuesday 19 April 2011

That's What She Said

My housemate sent me a message on Facebook the other day with a song attached. "Welcome to the future," he said.

'She' is the pseudonym of Lain Trzaska, some Polish guy obsessed with electronic dance music and Japanese culture. Much of Trzask'as work as She is heavily influenced by hyperactive auto-tuned Japanese pop music - or as it's known by its obsessive fans, J-pop. There are definitely some French influences thrown in the mix, too (the epic 'Coloris', embedded above, could easily be a Daft Punk track).

Having started out in the chiptune scene - in which artists purposefully produce music in the style of 80s video games - Trzaska has upgraded to a bigger, fuller, sound in recent years. (Which isn't to knock chiptune stuff in any way; She's 'Nebula' is a great example of utilising the limited pallet to explore some pretty interesting sounds, like a painter restricting himself to primary colours.)

His (her?) more recent works have branched out a yet further. New single 'Make Me Real' sounds a cross between Pendulum, Nine Inch Nails and Frou Frou. Although bizarrely, it reminds me most of all of New Order's collaboration with the woman from Scissor Sisters (if you don't know it - don't ask).

Supposedly, the song is "a love story set in between and during lucid dreaming when the dreamer is aware of the dream and tries to take control over it". Certainly can't accuse She of aiming low, at least.

I've recently been enjoying the album Coloris, although it's honestly difficult to express how terrible it should be. Funky guitar riffs have been outlawed in dance music for at least a decade; Modjo's 'Lady' is sampled (what is this, 2000 again?); sickly-sweet Japanese voices sing "Konichiwaaa!"; there are even clichéd piano riffs, tinkling prettily. The man represents himself with generic anime girls, for pete's sake.

Yet Trzaska manages to break through these issues, and against all odds produces music with a remarkable energy and beauty (if not freshness). It's geeky to the max, yes - even more so than deadmau5, who has managed to break out of the internet forum ghetto and cross into the mainstream - and certainly entirely uncool. But then if the vacuous Vaccines are what's cool right now, maybe I'd prefer to be a dork.

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