Valvola & DJ Spectra Venus 69

When an album describes itself as a "Japanese electronic pop art music museum," it would be easy to assume that it is going to be a collage of wacky, busy, futuristic pop songs. In the case of Venus 69, that assumption would be bang on. Featuring a few J-pop guest vocalists, such as Cubismo Grafico and Pine*Am, each track takes on its own personality, but the overarching theme is pretty much summed up in the initial description. The first few tracks are a layered jumble of beats, keyboards and assorted samples with only a hint of a song structure. Things really get interesting on "Space Tug," a catchy classic synth-pop track that sounds like old Visage or Trans X. Then "Electronic Bouquet" takes a detour by delivering a bit of jazzy house. From that point on the tracks get back to their previous wackiness, sounding like the soundtrack to a futuristic Japanese lounge bar. This may all sound off-putting, but this really is an interesting, albeit abstract, album to get into. (S.H.A.D.O.)