LES RYTHMES DIGITALES
Nobody will ever accuse French-born, English-bred Jacques Lu Cont--the "brains" behind Les Rythmes Digitales--of subtlety: this is a guy whose best song is called "Jacques Your Body (Make Me Sweat)." A spoonful of good taste usually helps his goofy hooks go down: on the new Darkdancer (Wall of Sound/Astralwerks), the infectious synthesized bass line of "(Hey You) What's That Sound?" keeps the pseudo-Sugar Hill recitation of the Stephen Stills lyric from devolving into mere kitsch. Occasionally, though, things move a bit too smoothly--the lubricated fusion bass lines of "Music Makes You Lose Control" and especially the Loverboy-style vocal histrionics of Thomas Ribeiro on "Soft Machine" and "Damaged People" had me reaching for the Pepto-Bismol. Luckily, Ribeiro isn't part of the Les Rythmes Digitales road lineup, a live band with two extra musicians on guitar, keyboards, and electronic percussion. It should be interesting to see how they interpret woozy, insistent posthouse stomps like "Hypnotise" and "MDC Vendredi," and whether they'll attempt to tackle Lu Cont's ace remixes of other people's material--in particular, Whirlpool Productions' "From: Disco to: Disco" (included on Darkdancer), which turns the strange, sensual, lo-fi original into a markedly postdisco groove with what sounds like a Speak & Spell jammin' on the one, and Deejay Punk-Roc's "My Beatbox" (available on Astralwerks' recent compilation Paris Is Sleeping, Respect Is Burning 2), a beast of a track that matches any club hit of the past few years for nonstop monolithic thrills. Sunday, 10 PM, Smart Bar, 3730 N. Clark; 773-549-4140. MICHAELANGELO MATOS
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Rankin.