There’s despair in the air. But rest assured good music doesn’t need to use calculated titillation to create interest. This point was hammered home earlier this year by a receding German expat with a strange moustache who now lives in Santiago de Chile. AtomTM ‘s HD (Raster Noton) and in particular his song Stop (Imperialist Pop) is a protest song about right now. Stop Imperialist Pop,” offers a robot voice over shuffling clipped electric hums and funky glitches. It’s austere, without a trace of humanity, yet the beat is strangely addictive, and the whole piece feels like a missive from the future, warning us of the dangers of consuming corporate mediocrity. “Sonic invasion from nation to nation,” the robot offers, “Gaga, Gomez, Timberlake, give us a fucking break.”
HD is a challenging album, AtomTM’s palette of highly artificial bleeps draws on techno and glitched up electrics yet packages them as palatable electro pop with a cheeky sense of humour. His track Empty is even more pertinent with the refrain “Empty MTV” and the lyrics like “mp3 killed the MTV.”
You may remember Atom from his other guise, as Senor Coconut, delivering cheesy Latin covers of Kraftwerk, tunes. He’s not without humour. I Love You (Like I Love My Drum Machine) is a clipped r&b groove, wirth his most audacious move yet. “To use the words of Martin Luther,” he offers before dropping in the opening line of the infamous “I have a dream,” speech, “Now listen to my drum computer.”
It’s an hilarious chin stroking nerd funk warning delivered, in a peculiar moment of cultural zeitgeist, just a few months before we needed it.