Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Half-Mute - (1980)

Tuxedomoon's debut album on Ralph Records followed in the wake of several EPs and singles released on their own label. Unlike many techno bands in the wake of punk, they punctuated the electronics with instruments such as sax and violin, the sax reminiscent of the self-taught sounds of David Bowie — not entirely polished, but unmistakable. The lyrics are dark and morose with glimpses of humor. Peter Principle's bass sounds positively chunky as well, contrasting with the rather fey but propulsive drum machines. "What Use?" is as close as they get to pop here, while other tracks ("Fifth Column") replicate the sort of European despair mined by Kraftwerk or Bowie on the second half of Heroes (another Bowie reference — however, they were one group whose vocalist didn't try to sound like him). "Dark Companion" borders on the pretentious but narrowly gets away with it. The experimental musicianship is what makes this album recommended. (

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