Digitalism is a relative newcomer to the ever-evolving electro scene. My first experience with Digitalism was their remix of Cut Copy's "Going Nowhere", released in 2005. Later, I heard their remixes of Test Icicles and Daft Punk, both appearing on Evil Nine's worthy and strangely prophetic FabricLive 28. Their stable of remixes also includes work for Depeche Mode, Tiga and The Klaxons. In the last few years, Digitalism have managed to stay just below the surface, putting out decent, but not overly great, remixes without attracting too much attention to themselves.
...That is, until now.
To be honest, I wasn't overly enthused when Idealism came out. Although it was released on the ever-consistent Kitsune label, Idealism is the sort of record that you don't see coming, but you won't forget it either.
On my first spin around the disc, I approached the album with a healthy level of skepticism. I've seen great electronic artists put out mediocre full-length albums, and for myself, none of Digitalism's previous songs were over-the-top great for me (partially because I had made a subconscious asinine decision to ignore "Zdarlight" for two years.) For the first two minutes of the album, those feelings were confirmed. But "Magnets", the first song on the disc, seems aware of the groups maturing sound, as if to say for the first two minutes, "that was before," and for the rest of the song, "this is now." By the time "Zdarlight" started playing, I was, rather violently, thrown in my chair and forced to listen to Idealism's layered melodies, catchy hooks and beautifully dirty synths.
Digitalism employ a healthy balance of electro and rock sensibility, offsetting synths with guitars and vice versa. For the nostalgic, Digitalism have included their fantastic remix of The Cure's "Fire In Cairo', repackaged as "Digitalism in Cairo".
There is a high-degree of chronological and narrative awareness to Idealism. It's not an album you can listen to out of order: you need songs like "Departure From Cairo" and "Moonlight" to let your inner-metronome normalize. Furthermore, "Echoes" is the perfect denouement to the "Jupiter Room" climax.
Not since Soulwax's Nite Versions has there been a full-length electro album with this much to offer. Digitalism recently did BBC Radio 1's Essential Mix. After releasing Idealism, they have my attention; and, deservedly, they're starting to get everyone else's, too.
Review by: Darcy Christian McAllister
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