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We’ve had a few interesting debuts this week and this mini-LP from Chicago duo Acteurs is no exception, harnessing a hypnotic technoid pulse and some classy production touches for a fried slice of dystopian cyberpunk synth-(anti)pop. Repetition is the name of the game here, with a relentless mechanical throb and a dense sub-bass pulse are offset by detached, repetitive vocals and playful synth details in a retro-futurist locked groove stumble that’s like Suicide and Underworld and Throbbing Gristle compressed into a tight, rigid cube of minimal, mechanised post-punk synth-throb ramblings.
It’s a hard album to pin down - there’s hints of techno, synthpop, coldwave, kraut, kosmische, post-punk and dark ambience, but it’s all stripped down to an unnerving, awkward skeletal pulse. The first side ends on a locked groove which I didn’t even realise was locked for a good minute or two. On the flip they focus on the more abstract side of their sound with two instrumentals. The modular twitch-scape of ‘Critter’ is drifts from cosmic to unnerving and then the lengthy closer ‘Freezing Fog’ has a hypnotic bass octave pulse that pumps along patiently for ages over a slowly swirling astral whoosh and echoed synth lightning cracks which are joined by some anarchic fried-circuit screeching towards the end which gets pretty intense. So there you have it, I have enjoyed this record!
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