SYNTHEME: Lasers ‘N’ Shit (Planet Mu)


Posted on Mar 6th 2009 12:06 am

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Syntheme: Lasers 'N' Shit

Lasers ‘N’ Shit
Planet Mu 2009
20 Tracks. 62mins46secs

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At this point, it’s become standard to assume that any new classic-sounding acid act is, in fact, Richard D. James in disguise. The online chatter about the true identity of Syntheme, coupled with the fact that the latest release under the moniker, Lasers ‘N’ Shit, is an engagingly funky course of acid disco, has done little to quell such suspicions. (And how about those track titles – Thraqqwa? Eqxq? More suggestive evidence). In all likelihood, however, Planet Mu is telling the truth in simply stating ‘Syntheme is Louise Wood from outta Brighton’. After all, this Louise Wood has performed live numerous times as Syntheme; RDJ never went so far as to hire actors to perform as The Tuss.

So, assuming that we’ve got the debut full-length form the 24-year-old Wood on our hands, let’s get down to business: this owns. Lasers is a refreshing slap from the Planet Mu camp, moving away from the breakcore and demented dubstep for which the label is known, and instead embracing the kind of squelch-funk last seen in such pure iteration on the second of Luke Vibert’s Kerrier District releases. In the current climate, it’s not hard to find young guns who fetishized disco (hello, entire roster of Kitsune), but said acts have an unfortunate tendency towards style over substance (hello again, Kitsune). There are no ridiculous fashion statements from Syntheme, and while her MySpace page embraces the Day-Glo color shock look popular with ‘nu rave’, Lasers is a bullshit-free zone.

It’s not until the third track, Red, that one truly realizes the extent of Wood’s programming prowess. This kind of acid is deceptively simple – the very act of knowing how to tweak the filters on a 303 or apt emulator brings you halfway there – but the creative perspiration required for the curveball percolation on Red is something else entirely. The majority of the tracks on Lasers work like this; the thematic acid line comes crashing in within the first thirty seconds, temporarily takes over, then exits in around three minutes to allow for the next onslaught. As for the lasers promised in the title? Those descending frequency bombs are plonked about everywhere, but check Csiris for the most beautifully frantic cascade of gradually deranged synth percussion.

Lasers features twenty tracks of raw acid, a daunting task on paper, but it’s to Wood’s credit as an artist (and sequencer) that I never once felt compelled to skip ahead. In addition to her acid chops, Wood’s an adept selector of panting disco vocals. Dig those vocalized cuts on Mimtro, sexy but odd enough to suggest Wood’s intentions lie to the left of pure dance floor fodder. Xwc, meanwhile, features a deep male voice breathing out what sounds like ‘push it’ on repeat, letting off steam over a sweaty electro workout. Wood is also prone to scale things back from the 4/4 kick pound at points, such as on the mysterious minor chords of 144a Acacia Overdrive or FabaceaeCPea’s detuned analog screech and sequenced cymbal and snare rushes (with a vocal sample that, unbelievably, sounds like its gibberish title).

As with all modern acts utilizing vintage analog technology to get at the sounds of classic disco, Syntheme is bound to raise a few eyebrows among the more unabashedly progressive connoisseurs of Planet Mu’s dystopic futurist techno and breaks. In truth, Lasers ‘N’ Shit sounds like something Aphex Twin or Luke Vibert might have cooked up a decade ago, but with grooves this slick it’s a non-issue. Wood’s mined the past to match her own creative zeal, which is something to shut up and think (and/or dance) about.


Icon: arrow Syntheme (MySpace) | Planet Mu
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Comments (13)

13 Responses to “SYNTHEME: Lasers ‘N’ Shit (Planet Mu)”

  1. stanley stanleyon 16 Mar 2009 at 10:05 pm

    Its not lou, its global goon. Listen to it, and read the facts. Its all fake.

  2. David Abravanelon 16 Mar 2009 at 10:41 pm

    stanley – maybe I just haven’t been checking the right message boards, but where did you get the information that it’s Global Goon? I could certainly see him making this kind of music, but it would then seem like a lot of work has been put into making up Lou Rhodes. More than, say, the Tregaskins.

  3. David Abravanelon 16 Mar 2009 at 10:43 pm

    Well, a brief search suggests that it is, in fact, Global Goon. Looks like I completely missed that one – yikes, am I going soft? Thanks for bringing this up, stanley.

  4. David Abravanelon 16 Mar 2009 at 10:47 pm

    Looks like I posted too soon. Now I don’t know who/what to trust on the matter. It appears that Lou Wood (accidentally called Lou Rhodes earlier, musta been thinking of Lamb) is actually real, and actually/maybe/possibly Syntheme, and maybe/possibly collaborated with Global Goon. I’ll just shut up now until I see something definitive.

  5. Ollie Davison 30 Mar 2009 at 4:42 pm

    It is RDJ

  6. themilkmanon 30 Mar 2009 at 8:16 pm

    In a wig? Wikipedia’s not always right, so who knows. It’d be a fun story though if it was true. And it’d be great to see him release something on Mike Paradinas’s label. Maybe someone will come here and tell us that it is in fact Luke Vibert, Tom Jenkinson… or James Last!!!

  7. David Abravanelon 30 Mar 2009 at 10:14 pm

    Seems suspicious to me that the Wikipedia entry is so brief, and cites no outside sources. I’ll just wait until we hear something more conclusive.

  8. themilkmanon 31 Mar 2009 at 12:54 am

    I must say that I tend to take things on Wikipedia with a pinch of salt. It is a useful tool, but not exactly that reliable. It is however something of a mystery as to who is behind all this…

  9. debunkeron 29 Aug 2009 at 11:26 am

    FACTS: Global Goon wrote ALL of the Syntheme music. Go see him live, he plays it. The thinking is that GG felt out of place as an “old man” playing raunchy disco acid in clubs. Lou “performs” it and writes her own music as KoBi (nowhere near as good). She has been trying to get her own music signed to Planet Mu but they keep knocking it back. Even though her new hubby probably finishes the tracks for her. She is the epitome of scene fake. I performed alongside her once, she couldnt even use Traktor properly although she does have a bright pink laptop.

  10. themilkmanon 29 Aug 2009 at 6:21 pm

    The plot continues to thicken…

  11. Saffixon 09 Sep 2009 at 6:21 pm

    Syntheme is NOT global goon. That rumour was started simply to get people talking on the internet. It backfired, now no one believes that a girl can make good music!

    PS I’ve seen both global goon and syntheme play. They play completely different tracks.

  12. ErYeahon 20 Jan 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Totally IS Global Goon.. He was posting demos on the Planet-Mu forum of Syntheme tracks way before they were released.

  13. Michaelon 21 Nov 2011 at 7:26 am

    i have seen some live artists. Richard D. in a small club which was in my mind the party of the year. terence fixmer, team doyobi, AE ect ect.
    now team doyobi a few years back really blew me off the chair. they topped AE.
    but seriously. if anyone wants to tell me that a 24yr old chick with a pink laptop did these tracks herself…????
    next you wanna tell me is that uffie does cool electro ? save it for whoever.
    sorry. no. the arrangements are too off the hook. the disco acid shit just moves your ass no matter if you want to or not.
    some elements may let someone think of rich. some of mike p.
    some of global goon. wait, sup with the old worm interface stuff…?
    or…3mb games :)
    you never know who it really was. but the good thing is: it’s some really nice shit.
    in the times of minimal house these sounds make me happy.

    and after all…maybe one track is by rich some other my mike and some other by goon and some by 2 or all 3 of them together.
    as if i cared.
    but i am sure it is not the 24 yr old.
    this is partwise mastermind stuff. way too artsy for a 24 yr old. rich mike or goon can do that stuff – and – well, rob (skam) and the doyobi guys maybe not to forget AE…
    the amount of people who bring that stuff up is small.