Album Reviews: Sci.Fi.Hi.Fi._01 by Ewan PearsonEwan Pearson is one of those DJ/producer/remixer types whose music you’ve heard, even if you’ve never heard his name. He had a few fairly big club hits back in the day, working under the name Maas (not to be confused with Timo Maas); he’s done popular remixes for the likes of Goldfrapp and Ladytron; and he even put bread on the table by joining the small army of knob-twiddlers who gave Gwen Stefani’s Love Angel Music Baby its shiny electro-pop veneer. Despite all this, Sci.Fi.Hi.Fi Volume 1 is the first album this Scottish-born, Berlin-based DJ/producer has released under his own name, and it’s a fun, freewheeling debut from a man who clearly knows his party-friendly sounds.
The first in a proposed DJ showcase series from Scotland’s acclaimed Soma Recordings, Pearson’s 15-track set follows that label’s tradition of dodging trendy club sounds to probe the darker, weirder corners of house music. Like Canada’s Tiga, Pearson likes to blend synth-heavy tracks in ways that create a chilly but densely textured soundscape, punctuated by occasional bursts of electroclash’s droll sexuality (in this case, Serge Santiago’s catwalk-ready remix of Husky Rescue’s “Summertime Cowboy”). And while his mixing is perhaps less dazzling than Tiga’s, he has a keener instinct for the killer crescendo, pumping peak-hour energy into this set via dramatically old-school tracks like Spirit Catcher’s “Key Generator” and Dirk Technic’s “I Love You” (which he wittily follows up with a discofied mix of Soldout’s “I Don’t Want to Have Sex With You”).
The other highlight here is Pearson’s own barely recognizable remix of Feist’s “Inside and Out,” which cleverly recasts the Canadian singer’s ‘70s-inspired chamber-pop as an homage to ‘70s-era bubblegum disco. It’s a rare treat to hear music that’s both smart and booty-shaking, but for most of Sci.Fi.Hi.Fi, that’s exactly what Pearson gives us. - Andy Hermann
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