Computer Magic — the solo project of electro-pop producer, Danielle "Danz" Johnson — is not as known in the North American music scene, but she's big in Japan. She has three full-length records released exclusively in Japan and nine EPs since 2010. DANZ is her second full-length for the North American market, after 2015's Davos. With DANZ, Computer Magic hopes to gain more exposure and break out here. Unfortunately, the record fails to excite and remain memorable.
DANZ is dark, sombre electro-pop inspired by science-fiction, videogames, and dystopian futures. Songs like "Space and Time / Pale Blue Dot," and "Amnesia" feel like they belong in the Tron movie universe. Computer Magic is reminiscent of Grimes without the danceability, Purity Ring for the sombre introspection and Austra with sci-fi-tinged electronic music. Yet DANZ fails to live up to any of its contemporaries.
Most of the songs are unconvincing. Songs like "Delirium (Don't Follow The Sheep)" and "Nebraskaland" are at best, boring and at worst, monotonous and dreary. Songs that are mostly instrumental, like "Teegra," are the most enticing, but what is missing is the fun of her previous works, like Davos single "Fuzz."
"Ordinary Life (Message From An A.I. Girlfriend)" stands out as the highlight of the album. Here, Computer Magic's fascination with sci-fi and A.I. find life in the story of an android who yearns to see the world and refuses to just be "an ordinary girl." The song plays off as a karaoke pastiche version of an '80s song in an enjoyable way. Unfortunately, the rest of album is not as delightful, and ultimately, forgettable. (Channel 9)