Gatekeeper - Exo (3 stars)

Debut represents definite progress from John Carpenter-influenced American synth duo

Gatekeeper: Exo

(Hippos In Tanks)

Exo represents definite progress for this American synth duo. While 2010’s ‘Giza’ EP melded sinister Italo and EBM with an aesthetic inherited from John Carpenter’s hugely influential soundtrack work, this debut LP sees them incorporating acid, noise and radiophonica. The entire package appears less gimmicky and more conceptual than its predecessor, with a decidedly less hammy sleeve design evocative of the steely, hardware driven pieces within. ‘Exolift’ sets the scene, as evocative of a hyper-speed Marshall Jefferson as Aphex Twin’s Analord series. ‘Vengier’ is more textural, cloaked in an unrelenting analogue fog, while the faintly ridiculous choral chant in ‘Encarta’ reminds us of the duo’s period credentials.

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