TECHNO REPRESS OF THE DECADE? Warp continue their incredible reissue program of 2017 with The Other People Place: the sublime and melodic side-project of James Stinson, one half of rabid Detroit electro duo Drexciya. Initially misunderstood upon its release in 2001 (one year before Stinson’s untimely death), the album has become a cult classic due to a massive surge in popularity for anything Drexciya-related in recent years. The demand for Lifestyles Of The Laptop Cafe reached critical mass when a petition for Warp to repress the album amassed over a thousand signatures last year (despite the title and chilled-out vibe of the record, we were quite honestly getting tired of having to listen to it on our laptops, too). While Stinson’s work with Drexciya exists in the realm of the mythical and aquatic, Lifestyles is purely terrestrial, human. The one-line refrains deal with the most tangible and relatable human emotions (“let me be what I wanna be”, “you said you want me”). Compared to the Drexciya catalog, Stinson’s simple yet potent arrangements are considerably gentler, usually consisting of a light drum machine pattern (mostly TR-808) and a few analog synths providing melodic basslines, soft pads and plucked keys. It’s hard not to be lifted up by the meditative hook, breezy melody and infectious bassline of “Sunrays”. “Moonlight Rendezvous” is quite possibly the most romantic Detroit techno record not produced by Carl Craig. Lifestyles covers the other end of the spectrum, too; “Lifestyles Of The Casual” will appeal to fans of the sinister, cosmic electro of Drexciya, and “Let Me Be Me” is an ass-shaker of an anthem for personal expression on the dance floor if we’ve ever heard one. This is one of those albums you’ll want to keep near the turntable for low-key Sunday afternoons at home, so buy a second copy for your DJ bag. Recommended.
- music label: Warp Records 2017
reviewed by peanut dust 02/2017