Sunday, March 16, 2008
Styles: Ambient Techno, IDM, Trance
The overtly technology-enhanced cover of the album, a cross between Tron and Blade Runner, helps set the tone for Freaky Chakra's follow-up release to Lowdown Motivator. If that album captured a blend between active techno energy and nods to a gentler, calmer approach, Blacklight Fantasy is rougher around the edges, more explicitly mechanical, and fiercer. If it had to be summed up, Lowdown had a more "natural" air due to the inclusion of percussion from other cultures, while Blacklight's edge is often artificial, hinting at an electronic body music/industrial background. It's by no means a thorough or total reinvention, but songs are shorter and the overall atmosphere a touch harsher, making a nice contrast without completely disavowing the past. If anything, the results can be subtly beautiful, as can be heard on the clearly Kraftwerk-inspired (and possibly sampled) melodies of "Hyperspace." No guests are credited or have any noticeable roles and, unlike the somewhat start-stop debut, Blacklight runs like an endless mix session, with rhythms unobtrusively varying but never simply stopping cold at a song's end. One could call it a concept album if ideas were stretched a bit but, aside from a general futurism in the titles ("Year 2000," "Living in the Future," "Vector Head"), it's more a question of artistic trappings than anything else. Perhaps the best title of the bunch is "Fascist Funk" — it's not quite the descendant of Heaven 17's "We Don't Need This Fascist Groove Thing," but its quick, crackling, and static-laden crunch is definitely some space away from funk in its greasy, slow sense. When Bentley ups the spookier atmosphere of things, Blacklight starts to stand out more as its own record, starting with the swirling vocal cries on "What?," followed by the brusque beat and subtle, haunting tones of "Thing."
- Ned Raggett (Allmusic Guide)