Armed with a PowerBook, vocoder, some moogs, and a host of analog accessories, Toronto's Solvent (a.k.a. Jason Amm) pre-sents us with his fourth full-length and first for the Detroit techno label Ghostly. And the knobs Amm twiddles produce some of the finest synth-pop to come out in years. Instantly nostalgic and energetic, Apples & Synthesizers is a 47-minute love letter to the bygone days of vintage techno, a referential history of electronic music through the audible lens of pop culture icons -- from Grandmaster Flash to Super Mario Brothers.
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Though the established "My Radio" is a deceptively sweet and wildly danceable pop song, it's actually a eulogy to authentic, handcrafted new wave radio, lost forever to the Clear Channels of the airwaves. "Think Like Us" is a bizarre progeny of goth and old-school Miami bass, and the phenomenal "Remote Control" emerges from a Metropolis-ish world order where machine rules the man, on the assembly line and the dance floor. Taken as a whole, Apples & Synthesizers is hardly derivative. Its framework may be thrifted from earlier sources, but Amm has deftly recycled it into a lo-fi sound and ideology entirely his own. -- Kelly Shindler