Shawn Lee Synthesizers in Space

Shawn Lee Synthesizers in Space
The latest offering from the ever-idiosyncratic Shawn Lee has its origins in "the mystery box" -- a vintage synth instrument he uncovered at Austin's Switched On Music Store -- and Synthesizers in Space is an analogue-drenched journey into spacey, psychedelic grooves. The premise seems like an indulgent experiment, to be sure, yet there's nothing here that sounds experimental. In fact, Lee has come up with a cohesive and assured collection of songs. The key to this is his clever juxtaposition of a vintage-sounding real-time rhythm section with otherworldly synthesizer sounds. Opener "A.J.s Mood" sets things off on a measured cosmic crawl, marrying dirty-sounding bongos and drums with acid-hued keyboard stings. The glam-inflected, almost anthemic "Boogie Children (Saturn Day Night)" sounds like something Gary Glitter and Kraftwerk might have come up with in a garage on Mars, while "Tiger Style" closes the set with an entrancing Mulatu Astatke ethno-jazz vibe. Synthesizers in Space is another weird and wonderful gem in the Shawn Lee canon. (ESL)