Published Oct 19, 2016When it comes to godfathers of Italo-disco, one may be forgiven for drawing a blank after citing Giorgio Moroder, but were it a Jeopardy! category, Alexander Robotnick would definitely be on the board. Although he pursued other endeavours after his single "Problémes D'Amour" became a surprise international hit in 1983, Robotnick returned to the dance scene with 2002's Oh No... Robotnick! Since then, his Music For An Imaginary Club EP series has kept him on the radar.
Volume 8 serves as an edifying reminder of Italo-disco's subtle but ongoing influence, hovering in the background of much of today's "classier" house music: warm, minimalist synths, restrained but effective dynamics and lightly funky bass lines made for languid, as opposed to strenuous, grooving. Robotnick deploys all these elements expertly, if not exactly groundbreakingly. As such, the highlight here is closing track "My Imaginary Club," which isn't afraid to get a bit weird, interrupting the expected proceedings with a sudden descending synth line that hearkens back to a time when generic boundaries were less stringent and strangeness had a place at the table.
The three preceding tracks are more straightforward distillations of the Italo sound for 2016 deep-house fans, all solid productions from someone who clearly knows his way around a groove. Indeed, Robotnick's years of wisdom and experience will always make him a safe pair of hands with music like this, the only criticism being that this latest effort comes off as a just a hint, well, safe. (Hot Elephant Music)