ARTIST: I, Synthesist
I, Synthesist's Chris Ianuzzi knows what early synthpop was all about. It was about more than just using a new technology to make the same old boring dance albums. It was about messing with people's expectations, messing with sounds, and making an artistic statement that you could dance to, not just sacrificing integrity for the rhythm and the chance that a DJ might spin your track. Ianuzzi's new material, on the surface, invites comparisons to acts like Underworld or Urceus Exit; there's an undeniably contemporary techno vibe brought on by the minimalist yet hypnotic trance beats and synth leads on songs like "Telepathy" and title track "Art of Survival." Aesthetically, though, he owes at least as much to early pioneers like Tubeway Army, Soft Cell, and Fad Gadget. For one, there are the vocals; Ianuzzi delivers them in a half-sung, half-spoken style that's affected and off-putting, and rather than making difficult notes sound effortless, he often sounds out of breath despite not exercising much of a range. It's a brilliant move, though, if a risky one: by indulging in such obvious affectations, he offers up a vulnerability that contrasts starkly with the cold electronics, highlighting the themes of alienation on such songs as "We Don't Belong." Proving that stylized singing and dissonant dance tracks aren't his only gimmicks, Ianuzzi also offers up some moments of irony-free prettiness, as on the bittersweet "Anthems" with its bell and string-like harmonies. While I, Synthesist might be challenging to fans looking for yet another drab Depeche Mode knock-off, Ianuzzi's music is sure to appeal to more discerning synthpop fans.
Visit Ianuzzi online at www.isynthesist.net.
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