The debut Hologram Teen album certainly arrives with all the right credentials in place as it is the solo project of none other than Morgane Lhote, the long-term avante-guardian of the keyboards for seminal indie adventurers Stereolab during what many consider to be their creative high water mark. And as someone long associated with such mercurial and adventurous music, you would expect her to present you with something which carries on that challanging and creative spark. And you wouldn’t be wrong as Between The Funk and The Fear is as brilliant as it is strange.
Hologram Teen builds a kalidoscopic world from Day-Glo techno, psychedelic electronica, progressive structures, motorik beats and warped disco flavours. But the inherent strangeness comes from the addition of cinematic motiffs, dark trippiness, found sounds and audio library eclectica, not to mention the wonderful musical collisions that take place along the way. One listen to the albums swan song and lead single, Escape From Paris, and you quickly realise that musical conventions are out of the window and this could actually be the soundtrack to a space opera horror video game, such is its pent up energy and feeling of impending dread.
Elsewhere things feel a bit more accessible, God(d) of Thunder vs. Sukia is a slow, soul-tech groove, a battle between jazz cool and spaced out electronica, sweeping classical touches and the sound of the universe breathing and Brooklyn’s Broken! You Caught Me! is a minimalist doom disco put to a toy solider drum beat.
Never has a collection of music bubbled with so many ideas, pushed in so many directions and fused so many genres to its will, yet sounded so bright, accesible, intriguing and most of all fun. Sometimes the most enjoyment you can have is when you stop trying to understand what is going on around you and just embrace it. Between The Funk and The Fear certainly confuses the hell out of me but somehow I just can’t stop listening to it. It is good to feel so lost yet so nurtured at the same time and Hologram Teen does just that.