Black Meteoric Star Black Meteoric Star
- Words: Shawn Reynaldo
- Label: DFA
- XLR8R Rating: 7.5/10
You have to hand it to DFA Records. Hailed as the epicenter of the so-called dance-punk movement at the beginning of the decade, the NYC imprint has managed to retain its vanguard status, even as the scene that brought the label into the limelight has faded into the background. While roster heavyweights like LCD Soundsystem, Hot Chip, The Juan MacLean, and The Rapture might not be the 'next big thing' anymore, they've certainly retained their cool points. Even better, these days music critics have stopped insisting on examining these acts in terms of their punk credentials—with James Murphy & Co. openly idolizing leftfield disco producers and experimental dance acts like Liquid Liquid, it's long been clear that DFA is a whole lot more about the "dance" part of the dance-punk equation anyways. As newer acts like Hercules & Love Affair, Holy Ghost!, and Runaway have been added to the roster, the label's role as a provider of high-quality, forward-thinking dance music has only solidified.
Black Meteoric Star may be another addition to the label line-up, but producer Gavin Russom's name isn't a new one for DFA diehards. Working in tandem with Delia Gonzalez, Russom dropped a series of epic analog-synth soundscapes that eschewed disco classicism, not to mention a steady 4/4 beat, for a chance to update the mind-blowing sonic exploits of artists like Tangerine Dream and Vangelis. However, their Days of Mars album did include the song "Relevée," which became an unexpected dancefloor smash once techno don Carl Craig remixed it. The experience appears to have been transformative, as Black Meteoric Star finds Russom, who has since relocated from New York to Berlin, utilizing his custom-built synths to create out-and-out acid house workouts. Similar in feel to the early Chicago house sounds of TRAX Records, what the music (deliberately) lacks in precision it more than makes up for with fuzzed-out acid tweaks and unbridled groove. Yet although Russom may have picked up the pace for Black Meteoric Star, he hasn't changed when it comes to self-editing—the six-track record clocks in at more than 66 minutes. Album closers "Dream Catcher" and "Dawn" may turn down the adrenaline, but at 14 and 18 minutes respectively, they aren't exactly easily digestible.
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