Let There Be Lasers
Memmaker’s 2008 debut How to Enlist in a Robot Uprising felt very necessary at the time of its release. Released just as industrial was emerging from the long shadow of aggrotech and entering a phase of artistic renewal, the collaboration between Iszoloscope’s Yann Faussurier and Guillaume Nadon hit the perfect balance of fun, clubbable bangers and off-kilter humour right as audiences seemed primed for it. Arriving some eight years later, Let There Be Lasers is cut from the same cloth as its predecessor, emphasizing dancefloor thrills to excellent effect.
Those listeners looking for spiritual sequels to minor classics like Robot Uprising‘s “Get Your Ass to Mars” and “Robot Buzz” needn’t wait very long, from the jump “Doom Ray” hits the exact right notes, built around a monstrous industrial-body groove overlaid with samples from cult Brit sci-fi comedy series Hyperdrive. Similarly, “Sex With a Robot (Are You Gonna Do It)” builds almost exactly from the first record’s template of tight sequences, extensive vocoding, and very crunchy percussion. As a formula it’s all aged remarkably well, although it should be noted that at least part of the appeal comes from how very clever Faussurier and Nadon are at assembling these songs, weaving new sequences in and out of the mix, and varying the style of their percussion, as on the pulsing break that pushes “Machine”.
That knack for arrangement really might be the most versatile tool in Memmaker’s arsenal; there’s a lot of depth to some of these songs beyond their most immediate charms. Detroit Diesel collab “Race to Space” starts off doing the industrial-trance thing decently enough, but adds some subtle melodics to the track’s climax that really put it over the top. “Sunstorm” emphasizes twinkling synth breakdowns that give the song a shape and form more complex that the uptempo steamroller it starts off as.
Focusing on these minor construction details might seem odd in the grand scheme of the album’s high bpm club ambitions, but the overall effect is critically important to the album’s success. Entire records of DJ candy can be exhausting to listen to and get very samey very quick, thankfully Memmaker’s production chops and sensibility give Let There Be Lasers a lot of versatility. It’s not a major leap forward in style or execution, but when you have your approach this dialed in you can afford to let it ride.