I was in a record shop buying Royksopp's new album while they were playing this very CD and I thought it sounded rather different so I purchased it and was glad I did. My favourite tracks are No. 7 Less than Human and the absolutely hauntingly brilliant last track Dance With Me. There has been a lot of thought put in to this music and it's definitely something orignal but it will certainly not be everyone's cup of tea. I nice find this one. Worth listening to if you like Mylo, Lemon Jelly, Air etc.
One of the main men (alongside James Murphy and Tim Goldsworthy) behind DFA and former member of Six-Finger Satellite, John Maclean's debut is damaged electro with a dark heart. For all its inferences to robotic disco, this is not a Daft Punk album (despite the similarity in name to that band's latest: Human After All) - although it uses dance as is its language, Less than Human has all the subtle nuance and idiosyncasy of electronica. Part Kraftwerk, part Add (N) to X, part Underworld, part (obvoiusly) LCD Soundsystem, there is only one track that seems meant to tear up the dancefloor, the brilliant Give Me Every Little Thing (also heard on DFA compilation vol.2). 'AD 2003' is a taster, at a couple of minutes length, of the ice cool electro that dominates the LP, while 'Shining Skinned Friend' is a demented menage a trois of robotic voices complimented by shimmering synths, and rollicking DFA rythmns. This track in particular - despite the Doctor Who vocal effects - undermines its dancefloor textures with subtle subversions. Whereas 'Tito's Way' leans more towards the punk-funk blueprint, 'Love Is In The Air' and the downbeat vocoder of 'In The Afternoon' come off as a melancholy, less insincere Air. 'My Time is Running Out' is an awesome cut of IDM electro that throws a bone to Warp afficiandos, while 'Crush the Liberation' reminds of Out Hud, with its no wave chanting and syn drums, but disintergrates into periods of Eno-ish Ambience. 'Dance with Me' the 14 minute closer, is a masterpiece - evoking end-of-the night dancefloor fatigue, with 303 patterns shifting in and out of focus before reaching a kind of redemptive dawn in the form of gentle piano chords. A real talent then, although some of the tracks could have been developed further to up the overall length of the album.
You could be forgiven for thinking that the debut album by the Juan Maclean is to be a mere addition to the generic style that is the DFA. Of course it sounds familiar, the production is recognisable, the electro-punk attitude is prevalent throughout. But where the Juan differs is in his sensuality. Buy this album if you're a fan of the early Orbital releases but expect your heart to race more frequently, particularly during the stomping "Give me every little thing" or the alternative love song "Dance with me" featuring the versatile and beautiful Nancy Whang.
Seriously good electronic/dance/beats infected record. Although this record is primarily about the dance floor it is also about melody and dynamics.It has a sense of space crucial to the best dance music and is economical without being stingy and flamboyant without being excessive and indulgent. In short a triumph !
In terms of composition and arrangement this record is flawless, seriously. Strong melodies/changes, good, apt vocals and a perfect understanding of dynamics are all plainly in evidence. But ... In terms of texture it's horribly bland. The production/programming seem indifferent; but not bad or inadequate mind you. If the composition were less impressive one wouldn't mind, as it'd be yet another pointless serving of electronica, but music this excellent needs more and better production. (Just a note: by 'better' production I don't mean Royksopp-like syrup, just better use/sense of space and harmonics.) Still I've been purchasing this music since 1986, so maybe I'm just jaded. If that's the case and it's just me, then get this record immediately!!!