CD Review

Elektronika – “Night & Day”

By Marcus Pan

CorporationI keep getting chuckly visions of "Who's On First?" style comedy when I think of Elektronika. Something like, "Hey, what's your favorite band these days?"

"Elektronika."

"Well I know you like electro, but what's your favorite band?"

"Elektronika."

Now I could take it two ways with Elektronika's choice of names. On one hand, they could be so presumptuous that they feel they ARE the be-all end-all of electronica music. On the other – imagination will, at times, completely run its course and you end up naming yourself after what you do. I can go change my name to Writer for example...either way, they certainly could have done better with the word that will be used to hereafter refer to themselves as. Don't name yourself after a genre.

Now, the music itself is actually very good. Harkening back to 80s style infusions of keyboards, synthesizers, uplifting vocals and wrapped up in a swift club/house beat, Elektronika certainly do make good electronica. Fans of Republica, Ace of Bass, New Order – there's a lot for you here. And Night & Day has more than your bargain's share of music with its two CDs worth of 28 tracks.

The band started as remixers, chopping and reassemgling 80s new wave and synthpop music for shits 'n giggles. They discovered they liked the style so much that the four of them: Dan, Dawn, Jacob and Joel, have decided to do it all by themselves. They kicked out their first album in 2001, and Night & Day is a 2004 release to follow that up.

Elektronika's music is pretty self-explanable given the name. While it's quite good, it's pretty standard fare. It is overwhelmingly catchy and upbeat most of the time, with head bopping beats and good solid workmanship. Bleed, the opener on the first, Night, CD, is Republica in nature with moody synthetics that crash into strong power-heavy chorus sections. Falling Over You switches into groovier territory with some female vocals – now we're hanging with Ace of Bass.

Stars is a very well made, slower moving track that cuts the speed of Night down to a smooth groove with Dawn's pleasant vocal score. Foolish Love picks up the pace a bit rhythmically, but retains Dawn's vocals and the smooth nature of its predecessor. The time spent cutting up and mixing other people's music from the 80s period has certainly helped this foursome when it comes to building their own tracks well. They'll switch comfortably from brooding new wave tracks to heavier techno-laced heavier songs throughout Night & Day, though most are definitely a smoother, groovier and softer nature.

One of the problems with Night & Day is how it can tend to become forgetful as it nears its end. The style of the songs is pretty similar across the board, with modulations only to tempo and volume for the most part. This tends to dumb down the CD as a whole and make it drag a bit as you near the "22nd straight electronica song," for example. It certainly does not add anything refreshingly new to the genre, just plays within its confines.

There are other highlight tracks to Night & Day however, such as the bouncy Popular near the end of disc 1 (Night). The opening of disc 2 of the release, Day, called Ethereal is also a good piece of work and has been featured on radio. Today is also a gem, as good as when New Order first formed out of the ashes of joy. The following Gloss is also very catchy and moving. Positronic is cute and throws a nod to Kraftwerk era vocal processing. The track Meant to Be is easily one of the best synth pop love songs released to date.

While Elektronika is nothing new and is unabashadly 80s electronica and synthpop, it certainly has some decent stuff. There's a nice collection here on Night & Day – and no remixes and rehashes of the same songs over and over again. The only remix out of all 28 tracks is I'll Remember You, but it's the only version of this song given on Night & Day. Elektronika may have taken the easy route to naming themselves rather than spend time thinking about that – but they've at least taken that time to create a very large repertoire. Club and radio DJs will certainly find at least a few tracks they can throw out on their floors in all those 80's retro clubs popping up these days.

Contact Information:
Elektronika
Post: 3409 S. 48th St., Tacoma, WA, 98409, USA
E-Mail: elektronikadance@aol.com