Futurism without the future

by

comment
Based on the evidence presented at the installation-art extravaganza of the same name recently held at detroit contemporary gallery, The Forgotten Sounds of Tomorrow explores the fruition of a well-honed minimalist take on bass and beats, one that rarely breaks its regulated clip for vocals, samples or even nonbeat-oriented ambience. The album highlights at least one track from each of Ersatz’s 12-inch releases, with two tracks from Adult., Le Car and Artificial Material, and single shots from a number of other groups such as Perspects and Lesseninglesson.

But though the album may be nice and soulless – something the collective is evidently trying to achieve – Ersatz’s apparent understanding of musical history is lacking. Their Gucci Crew (1987)-meets-Kraftwerk (1978) retro-halfway, albeit done decently, does not a great musical stride forward make. And, like detroit contemporary itself – which is located on Rosa Parks Boulevard in the Motor City – there is the distinct impression of pomo-SoHo-in-the-ghetto gentrification happening on this record, in which EA revels in the ghetto sound (i.e. Detroit radio on a Saturday night) without actually being a part of it (playa hating doesn’t seem to be an issue).

If you want an island of aesthetic purpose in the middle of booty rather than a straight dance-floor document pandering to your gluteus, you’re in luck. If you want the future, though, I would still recommend listening to Kraftwerk’s The Man Machine and then picking up a guitar.

Because this music is so heavily dependent on kickin’ computero-beats, and because no group really breaks the album’s standard mold, Forgotten can have a gimmicky feel at times, as many a group attempts to establish its individuality with Sega-esque melody lines and hooks. Because of this, the set, at its worst, has the feel of nursery rhymes caught in a Moog instruction manual. But in the final analysis, these are tracks not songs, damnit(!). The album seems to say, "This is our story and we’re sticking to it."

And it does. Bravo.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.