The electronic producer-artist brings to mind a reclusive, bedroom-dwelling soul, who is more at home twiddling knobs, unseen, then actively preening at his or her audience. Live sets often do little to diminish this persona. When you go to a dance to a lone DJ, you'll generally see said DJ bent over, intent on a laptop or turntable, with hardly any crowd interaction. Two recent projects have found one method of breaking through this mold: bring friends.
Hercules and Love Affair
Hercules and Love Affair is the brainchild of Andrew Butler, featuring a variety of guest vocalists. The marquee name is Antony Hegarty, of Antony and the Johnsons, at first an unlikely associate of the dancefloor. Antony is better known as a tortured soul who sings fragile, intricate songs - passionate but hardly workouts. That changes with "Blind," a sublime marriage of dynamic production and Antony's quaver. But that's only the start of collaborations, with lesser known Nomi and Kim Ann Foxman also contributing. Perhaps their self-titled album is overrated, but it definitely deserves to be heard.
MP3: Hercules and Love Affair - Blind
MP3: Hercules and Love Affair - Iris
MySpace: Hercules and Love Affair
Official Site: Hercules and Love Affair
Boom Bip has always been an unpredictable. From the heartbreaking restraint of "The Matter of Our Discussion," with Nina Nastasia on vocals, to more straight-forward hip hop, the California producer is difficult to pin down. His partnership with the more gregarious Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals, dubbed Neon Neon, condenses his adventurism, but doesn't quite tame it. There's a swagger to their debut, Stainless Style, and a number of strong, soulful pop songs. First single "Racquel" builds surely into a strong groove, while "I Lust U" partners Rhys with singer Cate Le Bon and robotic beats. The whole album doesn't hold up quite as well, but there are plenty of highlights.
MP3: Neon Neon - Racquel
MP3: Neon Neon - I Lust U
MySpace: Neon Neon