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Christer

Techna

(File Under: Music; US: 2 Sep 2008; UK: 24 Feb 2009)

I don’t know what would inspire someone to make a career out of this kind of music. With her debut full-length, Vancouver’s Christer explores the vapid, unfocussed side of electropop. Most of her songs are about dancing or hair. She makes Goldfrapp appear deep, and Gawd knows her ‘80s pastiche GarageBand production skills are nowhere near Will Gregory’s vintage synth fetish and melodic mastery. Lead single “How You Like It” features the word “dance” in a poor man’s Madonna tone some thirty-seven times over a muddy beat and canned strings. She claims that “nobody dances any more, but [she’s] going to change that” with a Casio, a little canned strings, and some free software. Yeah, right.


Techna succeeds in giving me neon flashbacks, but I couldn’t even dance to this drivel just to be ironic. Its cheap synths, basic beats, and boring vocals compel me to move only in the direction of the bathroom. Christer (egotistically pronounced with a hard “I” as in Christ) self-describes her sound as “dancy glam-rock synth-jazz pop thunder” on her MySpace. I have to agree. The album is definitely that confused, and yet it still fails to be truly original in all it waffling. The album is a patchwork of girly electronic influences and the voluntary objectification of women, with none of the brutal honesty of Peaches, the quirkiness of Ellen Allien, or even the breathy seductiveness of Goldfrapp.


I had the misfortune of seeing her perform live a few months back, and it easily ranks as one of the worst concert experiences of my life. Christer cannot sing any better than your average karaoke patron and her backing band seemed largely disinterested (outside of a decent drummer). She attempted to make up for it with a bunch of synchronized hair-flipping between her and two back-up flippers and ordering people to dance, but the field goal fell several yards short of the uprights. She is no better on record. Consider yourself warned.

Rating:

Author of blurbs, curator of playlists, and booker of shows, Alan Ranta has been plugging away at that music writing and programming thing since 2004. His brutally honest critical opinion has appeared in such publications as Exclaim!, CBC Music, PopMatters and Tiny Mix Tapes, and has been enlisted to help judge the Polaris Music Prize, Pazz & Jop, and Juno Awards. Based in East Van, he graduated with a BFA in music from Simon Fraser University in 2012. He's also a social media plague, cat whisperer, socio-political haranguer, Canucks fan, and one of the last remaining cowboys, with a butt that won't quit.


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