When you’re listening to Boys Noize’s new album ‘Out of The Black’ you get a real sense that you’re listening to an artist who was always been torn between the industrial sounds of his native Germany and the unpredictability and flamboyancy of French electronic music.
‘Out of the Black’ plays out as an unrelenting power struggle between the best of Germany and France, as he splices gleaming melodies with acid riffs, rasping synths with pummelling drums, and warm robotic vocals with analogue grinding filth. Don’t be fooled though; it’s still hard, loud and in-your-face, but it finally sees Alex Ridha balance his famed raw energy with moments of spine-tingling melancholy, excitement and fun.
It’s by far his most mature album to date and this newfound maturity can be heard from the moment you start the album. ‘What You Want’ is a blistering electro track flanked by some catchy talk box work, but instead of leaving it as a one-dimensional banger, he adds a gleaming Ghost Busters-esque lead over the top to give it that all important enticing pop hook.
Throughout the album Ridha gives a display of vocoded vocals that can only be compared to Daft Punk. Many artists have tried to capture these warm robotic vocals before, but have failed miserably. Where Ridha succeeds is by making them unashamedly German. In almost every track they’re a real highlight – adding a familiar voice against the abrasive synths, thumping drums and mind-bending effects.
The best example is found in ‘Ich R U’. It starts as a simple, yet enticing, looping vocal – then he begins to bring it to the boil with layers of strumming basslines – for him to then change tack and finish the track with a mesmerising breakdown of doughy cosmic pads. This on-going battle between light and dark, warm and cold makes for a listening experience that works both for the home and club.
‘Rocky 2’ is a probably the most unrelenting track on the album, but still manages to grab your attention without turning your brain into mush. By the time you hit the halfway mark your met with the first of Riddha’s attempts at mixing rap with electronic music and it’s not as terrible as you might think. In fact its position cleverly acts as a decent break for you to catch your breathe before the sonic mugging continues.
The album picks up once again with ‘Conchorde’ which is a collaboration with Siriusmo, and as you’d expect it’s arguably one of the best tracks on the album. If you’ve ever wondered what Siriusmo would be like if he made peak-time bangers then here’s your answer. It’s built around a trippy hook which is then flanked by baroque breakdown, full of stabbing pianos and looping bleeps – only to be then built back up for one of the biggest drops you’ll find on the album. This is guaranteed to be one of the highlights of his new live show.
The Franco/German tug-of-war continues with the ‘Touch It’ and is what Daft Punk’s long-lost ‘Drive’ probably should have sounded like. Basically, we could on and on about how great ‘Out of The Black’ is. We could tell you ‘Reality’ has one of, if not, the greatest vocal breakdowns we’ve probably ever heard, how the collaboration with Snoop Dogg doesn’t immediatley make you want to throw up – but we won’t.
Alex Ridha’s ability to combine everything from breaks, acid, techno and electro into a coherent piece of music is a probably one of his greatest achievements. If Deadmaus’s latest album was a soulless collection of dance tracks made by someone who clearly hasn’t really lived within a thriving scene, then ‘Out of The Black’ is the complete opposite. It might well be one of the greatest pure electronic albums we’ve heard since the electro renaissance of the early 00s.
HBF Rating 5/5
“OUT OF THE BLACK” will be available as CD, 2×12″ Vinyl, ltd 3×12″(incl. Bonus Material) & Digital.
Japan: October 3
Germany/Austria/ Switzerland: October 5.
UK/France/Rest of the world: October 8.
USA/Canada: October 8 (Physical October 16).
Australia: October 12.
For more news & tour dates visit: www.boysnoize.com