Colder, Again

Colder is Marc Nguyen Tan, a Parisian producer and designer who, yes, probably has every single Factory Records album in his record collection. You guessed it  – this stuff sounds a lot like Joy Division et al. But instead of being yet another love letter to Ian Curtis and post-punk stylings, Again is inventive in very much its own right. And much of this is due to Tan’s keen understanding, unlike everyone else who’s stuck in a 1977–1981 timewarp, that the current state of music is in a world that knows Warp Records, that’s not still post-punk, but also post-pop, post-electronica, post-rave, post-jazz, post-acid-jazz, post-hardcore, post-post-post-punk, if you think about it hard enough. (We tried, and we can’t, thanks.)

Much of the album floats in stark minimalism, but hardly the kind that leaves a listener feeling cold (heh). It’s all very inviting, with soft, effect-laden vocals, pleasant keyboard leads, driving bass and drums. Also present are elements of dub and reggae, which connotes a direct interest in the very influences that Joy Division and New Order held. In fact, what appears to actually be happening here is that Colder takes a philosophy of music that’s bred from the same place as JD/NO and the rest of ’em: similar influences, similar outlooks, with results that aren’t really the same, but different and very much brilliant.

Ultimately, Again isn’t simply music that makes you pine for a bygone era, as much as it’s a stunning release that makes you think of new, altogether more interesting possibilities for the future.

[ MP3 and purchase ]

Andrew Womack is a founding editor of The Morning News. He is always working on the next installment of the Albums of the Year series at TMN. More by Andrew Womack

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