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Long Island’s Neorev, aka Michael Matteo, embodies the epitome of what electronic dance music should be, i.e., music first and foremost, not just endless, insidious thumping. The fact is, the tracks on Lines & Shapes are actual songs with structure and changes, not just squibbles and squeaks over a 4/4 bass drum.
Lines & Shapes opens with “Oh No!”, an aggressive, almost industrial track recalling Lords of Acid or perhaps even My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult. Things change on “Force,” an Arabesque drum & bass trope. From here the tracks continue to demand attention while never stooping to the typical boring phrases and clichés expectant of electronic dance music. Several tracks, “The Stars Above Us,” “No Turning Back” and “Another Cloudy Day” even take on a particularly Krautrockian tone, eschewing the beat in favor of form and feeling, like Kluster or something.
In a style as bland as modern dance music, it’s quite refreshing to hear a collection of songs with some thought behind them. EDM doesn’t need to be boring, it just tends to be that way. We need more Neorevs to teach us otherwise.
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