Strip Steve is a part of a new generation of artists who have lived through the rise and fall of hip hop, seen and heard, first hand, the commercialisation of dance music and has seemingly come out the other side unscathed grasping only the finest cuts of modern music to create his debut album ‘Micros Mega’. Firmly anchored in the world of concept album – his debut long-play looks to explore the nuances between a multitude of genres from disco to hip hop, techno to house and pop to minimal.
It kicks off with ‘Micro’ a jittering, stuttering, mish-mash of off-key synths and vinyl distortion – it’s not particularly memorable, but eventually a bulbous kick emerges out of the misty soundscape to start the album on a steady footing. The aptly named ‘Stomp’ see’s the, French-born, Berliner draw heavily from both filtered French house and pounding German techno to create a track that shows off Strip’s club pedigree. It’s as if his influences are playing out a musical tug-of-war fighting for dominance over the track – it’s certainly an early contender for track of the album. ‘Money Struggle Funk’ see’s that same war of attrition played out between hip hop and electro as Strip layers mainstream vocals against vocoded vocals on a back drop of stripped-back jittery percussion.
It’s not always a struggle of styles as carefree synths and arp’d rhythms combine for ‘Astral Projection’ – it’s a quirky piece of pop that contrasts really well against the more esoteric tracks that have come before it. The album hits another high point with fantastically weird French house track ‘Radio Check’ which sounds like an old Daft Punk track reverse engineered by a German techno connoisseur.
For every dark moment, there’s a colourful counter to it – the way Strip Steve combines elements that wouldn’t naturally go together is a the testament of his abilities. And this clash of styles is played out from beginning to end, from track to track, and quite often within the tracks themselves. From the quirky baroque influences of ‘Music For The Ringtone Generation’ to the funky inspired ‘All The Time’ you’re always on your toes as to what is coming next.
Strip Steve’s album completely fulfils the concept from start to finish – it’s a journey of styles, genres and polar opposites – the only constant is the guiding hand of Steve Strip as he crafts an album full of highs and lows, light & dark moments, slow burners & high-energy club cuts – it has a bit of everything. We’re going to call it now this is definitely a future classic – so get on board now, rather than waiting 20 years to hear one of the most forward thinking electronic adventures of 2012.
HFB Rating 5/5
Out now via Boys Noise Records.