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On: Gomma

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Some days you look up and have one of those cripplingly obvious realizations: that you're walking on the crust of the Earth. That there's no, er, roof between you and the stars, asteroids, little green men...and all that nothing. And you look back down and see a whole lot more nothing on the street.

 

Time to go back inside (where there's a roof), stare at the wall and let only the simplest beat ripple through your organism, accompanied by the simplest, most cripplingly obvious words. Headman's new release, On, seems to do the trick.

 

Headman is actually Euro-DJ/producer Robi Insinna, who's lately remixed Franz Ferdinand, Roskopp, Roxy Music, Scissor Sisters, Placebo and so on, and served as tour DJ for Soulwax. His latest disc matches four-on-the-floor beats with vocals from Erol Alkan, members of The Rapture, The Books and others. Most of these tracks are already out on 12-inch vinyl; the CD versions are mixed for listening at home.

 

It's chilly stuff. The record opens with Radio 4's Anthony Roman crooning "everyone's a suspect / the city's got its eyes on you" over a sinister electro pulse. The broody depths bottom out when Insinna takes the vocals himself for "Do U Feel," croaking over the chunky bass line: "How do you feel / to be lonely, walking in the streets / to be in the spotlight / to fall asleep?"

But it's not all doom-and-gloom: "Roh" and "Moisture" are more playful grooves. You could argue that On is pretty vacant (along with the rest of the punk-funk, dance-rock or whatever you call it) but it's a cure for a certain shapeless something: paranoid dance-rock for the long dark disco of the soul.

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