Digitalism's hybrid electro staves off boredom.
by Joshua P. Ferguson
Originally published in Time Out Chicago magazine | 08.10.11
Last year, as HARD, the annual electronic variety show from L.A., picked up and took its party on the road, we spoke talked to organizer Gary Richards about his goals for the festival. “I’ve been trying to break electronic music in the United States since I first heard it, and I’m not going to stop,” he said. What a difference a year can make. The barrage of beats and bass lines has won over American ears in the past 12 months, and dance music is more popular than ever—A theme we've explored heavily over the past year.
If Richards had concerns about the success of his tour last August, he set his mind at ease when HARD returned this year to nearly sell out Chicago's Congress theater during the summer. The headliner was German dance-rock act Digitalism, who we spoke to then and are sharing with you now—in advance of the duo's show at the Metro in Chicago tonight.
With its brilliant sophomore album, I Love You, Dude, racking up rave reviews, Digitalism’s mix of distorted guitars, grinding electro beats and pop hooks is a pitch-perfect sound of now . And the pair shares Richards’s philosophy of offering diversity amid the onslaught of thumps and wobbles.
Video chatting from Hamburg on Skype, the talkative Jence Moelle explains Digitalism’s development with an anecdote from his and Ismail Tüfekçi’s early days hanging out at record stores. “We’d take time to listen to each new vinyl of the week,” he says. “You get kind of bored after a while. All the customers—many DJs of course—they all bought the same stuff, always dependent on what the big names had in their playlist from the last weekend.” Going the opposite route, Moelle, 29, and Tüfekçi, 32, diversified, adding indie, breakbeat, electroclash and whatever else they were feeling into their techno sets.
“We don’t really like what you’d call monoculture or monogamy,” Moelle explains jokingly. “It’s just not exciting for us. We like to combine lots of styles. At one end is definitely guitar music and the other is somehow electronic, and there’s lots of stuff in between as well.”
I Love You, Dude plays out like a musical testament to their various musical tastes. It begins with the Daft Punk–ian cosmic electro of “Stratosphere” before launching into infectious lead single “2 Hearts,” which sounds like the electronic sister composition to Phoenix’s “1901.” Elsewhere, their punk side rears its head on “Reeperbahn,” with bouncing rock bass and Moelle’s distorted screeches. The album is so strong precisely because of this range of styles.
Digitalism "Circles" Dillon Francis remix | 192 mp3