Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Discovery Zone deal with the immediacy of modernity through a marbling electro-pop patchwork

"Remote Control"

Release date: 05 June 2020
04 June 2020, 11:00 Written by Christopher Hamilton-Peach
Filtering retrofuturism through lucid electronic dreamscapes, Discovery Zone bridge lo-fi allure with the high concept – alienation broadcast via vaulting, gnostic synth elegance.

As a founder member of experimental outfit Fenster, JJ Weihl is well versed in cultivating original and absorbing songcraft in a collective context; the last decade seeing the quartet route alternative themes via brooding, waif-like dream-pop, akin to that sported by TOPS. Striking out separately with Remote Control, the New York-born, Berlin-based artist recasts this honed creative spark as a springboard to fresh sonic and conceptual turf, healthily reliant on the synthesiser and drum machine in the process.

Along with fellow Fenster bandmate Lucas Ufo, aka World Brain, and producer ET, Weihl contends with the assimilation of the digital into daily life, interpreting subjects such as surveillance, existential languor and intrusion through the prism of cyberculture. This vision, bound as it is with an ageless focus on human adaption and capitulation to technology, finds its strength refracted through cryptic omnipresence. Coalescing cogs of past, present and future driving Discovery Zone’s patchwork of influence, in this regard; a swathe of the familiar yet alien embraced in a crossover of early '80s Italo Disco and Zoolook-era Jean-Michel Jarre, a dynamic that reaches its pinnacle on the neon-lit “Dance II”.

This remains the case throughout, “Tru Nature” inhabiting the kind of spare ambient architecture synonymous with Art of Noise, while vocoded vocals à la Laurie Anderson punctuate the title track, spliced with Jan Hammer-esque melodies at his pastel-shaded best. “Fall Apart” and “Come Tru” harness the theremin and sound collage to ethereal effect, hinting at a state of existence beyond the perimeter of linear time. With Vangelis-like ambience percolating as its heartbeat, the narrative of “Sophia Again”, featuring dialogue between a maker and their eponymous creation, sees Weihl draw on sci-fi staple; tropes of sentience in artificial intelligence confronted – elements that would easily adorn the pages of a Philip K. Dick novel.

Wielding subtext through a marbling electro-pop patchwork, Remote Control presents a canvas upon which the immediacy of the modern is imprinted, tied with a modulating sense of reference. One which Weihl applies in playful rather than bulky manner - unfolding between word and instrumental in alert, immersive and beguiling style.

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