If we could somehow quantitatively measure all the hype this new Boys Noize album has received over the past two years in a sort of numerical representation we would probably have to invent a new number. Something like Elevenity-million, or whatever Glenn Beck used to describe the number of people at the Tea Party Protest this month. But seriously, whoever is head of PR for Boys Noize records deserves a raise. Alexander Ridha, German DJ wunderkid otherwise known as Boys Noize has pulled all the right moves since his 2007 dancefloor ready debut Oi Oi Oi. He has remixed everyone from Snoop Dogg to Feist, as well as well known club-banger remixes of Bloc Party and the Kaiser Chiefs. He has been on the other end of the remix by Justice and SebastiAn, as well as sampled for Estelle’s Kanye-graced crossover hit “American Boy.” Maybe it’s just the fact that DJ mastermind’s Boys Noize cuts are so fresh that this type of calculated hype building has been a purely organic, word-of-mouth process. To quote Jay-Z “the streets is A&R’ing this.”
Devoid of singular instruments or recognizable samples to place within the realm of reference, an instrument-by-instrument breakdown is a little tough. I can’t very well say, “that part where it’s all like ‘bu-bu-bu-ping-ping-ping, is really tight.” What I can say is that if this is pumped at extremely high volume at a dance club everyone will be on the floor. Listening to Power should be a communal act, however, a careful headphones listen yields itself to unexpected treasures from a strictly techno/electronica album. The opener “Gax” has a fluttering, ascending keyboard line that is about as elegant and exciting as Justice’s “DVNO”. This song could sell Jaguwars and Mercedes Benzs. “Jeffer” has a rare vocal sample that ties together the most punchy, outright dancy song on the album. A high frequency turn-table scratch punctuates the entire raver of a track. “Transmission” is so 3008, a dystopian computerized voice starts the track with some “Everything in its Right Place” randomized babbling before giving way to a “Motorik” beat taken straight from the ilk of Kraftwerk or Neu! “Transmission” is a very noticeable nod in both feeling and form to Joy Division’s classic “Transmission”, the self named track could either be considered a homage or a reworking of the Joy-less post-punk band. Either way it shares a similar free-floating guitar track and monotone drum sample, however, recontextualized into pure danceable bliss. Do you remember the awkward dancing of the crowds in the Ian Curtis biopic Control? Boys Noize’s “Transmission” would have the exact opposite effect.
A fantastic departure from pure love-for-the-club odes is “Trooper”, a virtual case-study in precision noise terrorism. Perhaps I am listening to this song through the ears as ardent noise fan, but I can’t help but recognize the unrelenting, tribal drumming of HEALTH or the Black Dice cleverly disguised in this track. Around 2:15 the drumming gets much more distorted and the noise-comparisons become more apparent. A really fantastic and unexpected move.
When Boys Noize makes stylistic moves, they are big moves. From classic minimalism of “Streetlights” to the micro-house groove of “Nerve”; whenever Ridha goes in he goes big. The result is a stunning Techno/Electronica album that stands up with some of the best cuts of Daft Punk, Crystal Method, Justice or 2009’s surprise success of Gold Panda. Expect this to be pounding from LA to Ibiza for years to come. If you can’t make it to the Balearic Islands this year, you can put on Power and pretend you are there. B.Y.O glowsticks.