Since moving to Santiago, Chile, three years ago, the German experimental composer Atom Heart (Uwe Schmidt) has developed a sense of humor that nicely complements his fluttering electronic compositions, which bleep and burp with erratic charm. Last year's Pop Artificielle featured covers of Donovan's "Sunshine Superman" and David Bowie's "Ashes to Ashes," and Heart continues to deconstruct pop music's past and look toward the electronic future with each of the three albums he's released this year. All of these records, which he has put out under a variety of pseudonyms, employ camp elements. The Latin pop versions of Kraftwerk songs on El Baile Aleman, the tongue-in-cheek professions of faith on My Life With Jesus, and the loopy pornography of XXX display a sense of humor and fun that belies Heart's German roots.
On the eight-song Geeez 'N' Gosh, Heart makes playful use of Christian expressions. He pairs a static-filled "salvation" with an escalating series of minimalist beats ("Salvation"); backs a distorted, child-like "Jesus Christ saved my life" with a mechanical voice that hums "Geezush" ("Gotta Pray"); and enlists a dance floor diva to sing about "going home to live with God" ("Soul of Mine"). The clucking electronic noises in "Talk With God" and the disjointed chants in "Calling Jesus" round out Heart's clever satire, suggesting the impossibility of communicating with a higher power. With Venezuelan singer Argenis Brito handling lead vocals on most of the tracks, El Baile Aleman is a unique send-up that includes a Latin lounge version of "Showroom Dummies," a horn-driven salsa version of "Trans Europe Express," and merengue versions of other Kraftwerk classics such as "Autobahn" and "Tour de France." As outlandish as El Baile is, it can't match XXX, a collection of dirty hip-hop that finds Heart producing foul-mouthed rapper Tea Time. On tracks such as the scratch-filled "Perra Mojada," "Muchacha," and "Love Story," Heart provides a mix of pumping bass, electronic clicks, and turntable scratches, while Tea Time lays down the sleaze. Kool Keith wishes he could sound so obscene.
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