Anthony Rother Hacker

The ever-reliable Anthony Rother returns with another album of high-quality electro. Hacker begins with the ambient intro "Protektor," which sets the tone for the moody, mid-paced electro that is to come, and the title track is one of the best on the album, with its breathy male vocals, crisp breakbeats and phased sounds and effects. All the vocals on this album are in German and are incomprehensible to me. Apparently, Hacker is a concept album, having to do with hacking, data and cyber freedom, and with a magnifying glass you could read the liner notes and learn more. Luckily, the concept doesn't get in the way of the quality tunes. "La Bete" takes a very traditional electro approach, with high-hats keeping the beat and kick drums punching out percussive, syncopated beats. The ten-minute epic "Die Macht" is down-tempo and click-y, but remains interesting with its haunting melodies. And "Dualis" is another long, smooth breakbeat track that glides along so effortlessly an adventurous DJ could drop it into a trance set. Many people find electro soulless and clinical, but this album never goes that direction, rather Rother has put some real feeling into this. (Psi49net)