Siriusmo – The Plasterer of Love EP (2010)
Total Score: 89 / Solid Gold: 100%
Before I begin this review, I must make a very important distinction concerning genre and word choice. Electro was a style of music that predated hip hop and was one of the fundamental building blocks in its creation. It involved DJs who produced space and future-inspired electronic music using samples, synthesizers, and most importantly drum machines, drawing a large amount of influence from all-electronic 70s krautrock act Kraftwerk. Afrika Baambaataa was one pioneer of the electro sound, Cybotron was another. Flash forward about twenty-five years, around 2006 and the inception of blog-house, when a new style of electronic music emerged that emulated the sound of French electro-house groups like Justice, but dropped the 4-on-the-floor house beat and replaced it with a hip-hop beat. Many of these artists were fellow Ed Bangers like Mr Oizo, DJ Medhi and SebastiAn – and also Siriusmo. Considering the music was basically electro-house without the house, people started referring to the music simply as electro. Now, I know that electro is a style of music that existed in the 80s and was critical to the inception of hip hop, but unfortunately the rest of the world hasn’t come up with a better term for this new style of electronica, and while in my own iTunes collection I make the distinction with the genre “New Electro”, I’m going to save us all some time (or maybe not after this enormous paragraph) and just call it electro (while we both know that it really isn’t).
Not since Mylo’s Destroy Rock & Roll has the world of danceable electronica seen a producer as intrinsically gifted on the soundboard as Siriusmo. With each and every synth sound meticulously tweaked and shaped, the attack/decay/sustain/release considered, intricate enveloping of reverb, pitch, and everything else – all while creating music so intuitively pleasing, every piece of the production coming together into a fully realized electro symphony, it’s as if we’ve been waiting to hear this record our whole lives. Where exactly have you been, Siriusmo?
The truth is Siriusmo has been around for some time. He’s been quietly releasing EPs and the occasional full-length since 2000, when the producer was only 16. In July of last year when Pitchfork asked frequent collaborator Modeselektor in an interview for one obscure band who should be more popular, he responded, “I think my friend, Siriusmo. We founded a label this year, called Monkeytown Records, and we founded it only for one artist… But, he’s very shy. He’s genius in his studio, but when you tell him, ‘Okay, Mo, next week a show, or next month a show,’ he will fall into depression. ‘I can’t play, I can’t play, oh my, oh my God, I can’t.’ I wish… well, he will be popular in the next two years.” Unfortunately, as long as Siriusmo continues to avoid the spotlight, he may never get the kind of attention he so fully deserves, truly a genius of his time in the genre of electronic pop. Siriusmo sees very few contemporaries who may rival his song-crafting abilities. Boys Noize and Breakbot come to mind, but that may be it.
And to be honest, as stellar a record as The Plasterer of Love is, it is not Siriusmo’s best. For those unfamiliar with the artist, they would do well to check out his 2007 12inch Allthegirls and follow up 2008 “mini album” Diskoding, the latter released on Boys Noize Records. It was on these records where Siriusmo first truly perfected his sound, creating an energetic kind of melodic, glitchy techno pop, somehow matching the darker sound of his Boys Noize labelmates while placing it within a pop sensibility.
While The Plasterer of Love fails to match the novelty and excitement of those earlier records, this EP represents a true step forward and evolution from the kind of sound ‘Mo was crafting on last year’s EP The Uninvited Guest, and at certain moments in the album you can hear him coming close to perfecting this new version of romantic electro-funk he seems to be verging towards. This is a style that grows out of the “Voyager” side of Daft Punk’s Discovery (certainly the principle tome of this genre), rather than the “Aerodynamic” side Siriusmo is used to borrowing from. It appears most successful on a remix of Breakbot’s “Baby I’m Yours” (featured on Breakbot’s recent EP release of the track on Ed Banger), a track made up of such organic sampling, guitars and horns, that it sounds more like another band’s cover of the song than an electro-style remix. On The Plasterer of Love we see Sirusmo attempting to reconcile this sunnier pop vibe with his traditionally darker electro stylings. This merging of dark electro and bright pop chords has always been an element of Siriusmo’s sound, drawing from the successful formula started by Daft Punk and continued with Justice – but on The Plasterer of Love we see that these two separate parts have begun to evolve in different directions, and the combination isn’t always as natural. Opener title-track “The Plasterer of Love” for example, while instantly catchy and solidly produced, sounds a little too soft at times when it needs to be hard, while closer track “123” devolves in its last minute-and-a-half into some sort of dark, thumping NIN-esque deconstruction of the beat, when all you want is for the hook to repeat and another shower of layered seven chords.
That being said, tracks “Blaue Sonne” and “Einmal In Der Woche Schreien” are absolutely flawless productions. “Blaue Sonne” finds Siriusmo at his most comfortable – crafting a complex layering of synth chords, covered in twinkling synth accents, into a lush, bouncing pop melody over a steady beat, diffusing layers in and out of the mix in such smooth transitions you never stop dancing, and every sixteen bars find yourself nodding your head with a smile creeping across your face. On “Einmal in Der Woche Schreien”, Siriusmo has each and every syllable of a high-pitched robotic singer’s German words under his control, letting some echo out, cutting some off early, the perfectionist in the producer clearly emerging in each and every second of the track. These songs are impossibly tight, painstakingly crafted into some of the most pleasing electronic pop creations of the young German producer’s career.
In the category of this new electro sound, or even in the larger realm of techno and electro-house that keeps people dancing all over Europe and a few select locations around the U.S., Siriusmo’s The Plasterer of Love has no peers in 2010, and he will most certainly continue to lead the game until his next record comes out — and hopefully smashes our worlds to pieces once again.
This record is All Killer, No Filler.
Top Killer – “Blaue Sonne”