Polydor 1981 / Angel Air 2017
From decadent pastiche to dark prophesies, digital project assesses possible outcomes of precarious political situations.
It was an unpredictable move for Georg Kajanus to leave his cabaret reverie for post-new-wave pastures on the brink of the ’80s – as unexpected as the prince’s embrace of shore leave pleasures after pastoral pop of ECLECTION at the end of the previous decade had been. Returning to that band’s blend of male and female voices, he teamed up with sisters Frankie and Phil Boulter, and this project came to life to reflect on the Cold War portents with a focus on dance music.
Yet Kajanus remained true to his histrionic heart. Lush vocal polyphony of “Armageddon” is the closest DATA gets to SAILOR, the link made obvious when electric harpsichord and retro croon add riveting detail into the picture, while the hilariously majestic title track propels orchestral scope towards discotheque delirium and plucks it back as a military oratorio. The ghosts of Mozart and Handel don’t really belong here in terms of memorable melody, though.
Bright “Star” aside, repetitive patterns rarely produce a groove but they perfectly convey the period’s stifling atmosphere, its madness captured in the well-concealed rock ‘n’ roll of “Cuckooland” whose deadpan vocal theatrics and electronica-stricken beats point to the ultimate blackness. Nevertheless, “Politics” – one of two bonuses here – rides a dub train yet finds a smile in the era’s gloom, unlike the frenetic “Left Right Centre” which, despite clever stereo panning and deep dynamics, feels quite annoying.
In this context, “I Want To Know” sounds more like demand rather than inquiry, and the belligerent, if flat, “Fallout” would be the only possible answer to such a statement – lightened by a lucid, lysergic even, middle section that leads into “Fever Of Love” where a swirl is truly infectious. It can serve as an entrance to the DATA world – unwelcoming and arresting at the same time.