October 1, 2009

Record Review: The VX-323

Space-Age Bachelor Pad Music
The VX-323
Portland, OR

Produced by Scott Burgess
Mixed and mastered by Rick McMillen at SuperDigital in Portland

The VX-323 claims to be a robot that creates electronic music with spoken word samples in a computerized voice along the lines of Kraftwerk. The music is Euro-style electro, performed on synths with beats that groove, albeit in a non-funky manner. Imagine robots at a rave doing – well, the robot.

Some of the lyrics show how money can be addicting with lines like “I film epic movies in my billion dollar condo/I can seduce anyone in my billion-dollar condo.” But there is always someone who has more than us: “I envy my neighbors in their trillion-dollar condos.” “Commuter Flight” spits out random data such as “New York to D.C./Lobbyist, lawyer, power broker.” In a stunning twist, the robot bemoans the loss of its factory job to inept humans and their clumsy hands in “Factory Job” over a super funky, electro hip-hop beat. Robots even crave sex as in “Hey Baby” and “Laptop,” the latter being a love affair between robot and laptop computer. The laptop says, “I’m young fast and sleek/So why chat with some geek?/I want to be your one and only/So love your laptop, baby.”

“Espresso” is the most house-like track on the album. After the listener is told to drink espresso, some dissonant synth lines come on like a caffeine overload. “When You’re Gone” is about how the machines will take over the world after people are gone. Lyrics like “We will bathe in the bitstream / we will find meaning in your data” paint a picture of a robot utopia that avoids the pitfalls of imperfect humans. Chansons is a good solid album for fans of computerized electronic music as played by Gary Numan and Daft Punk. (Bitnotic Music)

-Scott Jones


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