I'm gonna geek out for a minute and talk about a fairly rare and expensive record that arrived at the dusty groove
(my current employer) in the past few days. The group in question is named Alexander Robotnick, and their debut (and possibly only) full-length album, C'Est Ne Q'Un Debout
, was released in 1984 and will currently run you about 50 bucks, if not more. The little bit I can gather from a combination of allmusic and the official Robotnick website
is that the group is simply one Maurizio Dami, an Italian producer who worked under a number of pseudonyms, though is only really known for his Robotnick work. So what does this expensive rarity sound like? More or less, it's a great example of mid-80s European disco (not) disco, definitely taking its cues from Neue Deutsche Welle. I hear lots of DAF or Liaisons Dangereuses, and it's definitely from a similar planet as Devo or xex. Which is to say there are lots of ultra-robotic drum machine beats with frantic basslines and nasal French vocals that are more machine than man, though more in a clipped, post-punk style than the Kraftwerkian vocoder. The rest of the music is definitely more accessible than DAF or their kin, occasionally veering on cheesiness which only makes the songs that much more appealing. I almost think it's what Arthur Russell would sound like if he were an Italian robot instead of an extremely human New Yorker, or possibly a cross between Russell and Von LMO, but that's a bit of a stretch in either case. I can't speak for any of the rest of Dami's output, but I will say that this is a solid slab of vinyl, even if I could never afford to lay out $50 for it. And if I can manage to get mp3s of it, I'll try to post them so you all can understand the joy of the Alexander Robotnick.
A couple additional thoughts after listen #3: this album is fantastic because it somehow manages to combine elements of just about everything from that time period into something new and ever so slightly different. There are bits of Afrika Bambaata, Gary Numan, and even the really early Madonna/Otto Von Wernherr stuff thrown in the mix. And then you realize that Outkast had to steal the bassline from Bombs Over Baghdad's breakdown from one of the songs on this album. To say that I wish I had 50 bucks right now would be an understatement.