This is a review of "Protoretro" recorded by Superboss. The review was written by Catherine Klein in 2002.
This sound is so big now; '80s and '90s electronics rediscovered and manipulated in a way truly worthy of the 21st century. As any tech-geek will tell you, due to the emphasis that all the manufacturing giants have placed on retro-synths in the last five or six years, it was only a matter of time before we heard the impact of such technology.
On the front cover, the straightforward artwork of an outdoor party is given a strange twist when the inside sleeve is actually the mirror image of the same photograph, each inversion having its own particular atmosphere.
Superboss manage to combine the exciting scattiness of early acid with cutting edge, seamlessly sampled beats and smooth synth pads. Unfortunately, some of the songs on this 16-track album are little more than pleasant background music and "Baby Wants to Fly" becomes tiresome as it loops the same chord progression again and again. However, "Dark and Wearing Sunglasses" captures the simple pleasures of squelchy noises and juddering base lines reminiscent of "Pretty Hate Machine" era Nine Inch Nails, broken up by bursts of authentic white-gloved-hands-in-the-air-and-whistle-in-mouth rave.
"Do You Wanna Touch Me?" is cheeky and sexy, but I feel it could go further lyrically without being sleazy. Again, the elementary stuttering base line drives this track. While too simplistic for real bedroom music, it would sound great on a night out with its morphing sounds and "Dob 100"'s sub-base going straight through your rib cage.
"A Couple of Minor Adjustments" contains a bizarre mix of scar, dub and skiffle beats that suddenly double in time. "Coping With Fear" is so Gary Numan it could be sampled from the quieter moments of his latest "Pure" album.
This music is intelligently put together and must have taken many months of blood, sweat and spliffs. A few years ago this album might seem oddly inappropriate, but in the current musical climate that embraces all things electronic and weird, this could do very well.