vt100: Algorithm (self-released, 2021)

April 28, 2021 at 7:35 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

vt100: Algorithm

California’s vt100 makes live hardware techno using analog and digital synthesizers. This is their fourth album, and it seems to somewhat jokingly comment on algorithms taking on a life of their own and controlling everyone’s thoughts and actions. The album doesn’t seem super conceptual if you’re just listening to it without paying attention to the press materials. It’s pretty straightforward techno that sounds a bit simple and retro, but not in a way that seems like it’s trying too hard to replicate ’80s glitz (i.e. synthwave) or the roughness of early techno and house. There’s steadily repetitive beats and melodies, but it doesn’t quite feel as cold and clinical as most minimal techno. The title “Techno Spaceship” sums up the album’s sound nicely, as it often has kind of a gliding feel to it. There’s some lo-bit textures on tracks like “Aztec LEDs” and “Bit Rot” but it’s still more like spacious electro-techno than chiptune. The album is quite long (over 70 minutes) and there might not be enough to hold onto for the full ride, but it’s worth taking a short trip for a few tracks.

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