On their latest album, Technoir continue to produce solidly crafted synthpop with a modern approach, more influenced by the club beats and slick, understated synthesizers of today's techno scene than the moody analog keyboards of yesteryear. Programmer Steffen Gehring, who has previously played keyboards in Plastic Noise Experience, brings a coldly club-oriented sound to "Breathe" and "Darkest Days," but he's not afraid to add the harmonic moments, either. "Everything I Cannot Have" adds an ethereal piano line to pumping rhythms, recalling the airy trance of Robert Miles, and "All In My Head" laces multiple melody lines over a thumping dance beat. The real draw here, though, is singer Julia Beyer, who has also performed with Psyche side project Inside as well as The Eternal Afflict. Beyer's voice is gorgeous and smooth, and it's also just familiar enough to slip inside Gehring's technical beats and melodies without drawing undo attention to itself. It's not that her approach lacks emotion, and in fact on "Dying Star" she expresses a gorgeous sense of melancholy without detracting at all from the song's dance floor accessibility, but that her vocal precision matches Gehring's programming in its professional quality. Whether on trance-infused club tracks like "Silence" or icy, tranquil ballads like "Near You," her voice has a crystalline quality that evokes a certain sense of remoteness, much like the futuristic synths feel so removed from more traditional instruments. Comparable to The Azoic at their best or even to William Orbit's collaborations with Madonna, Technoir's music is both pretty and unapproachable, the sharp metallic sound of a digital future.
Visit Steffen and Julia at www.technoir.de for more information.
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