Schneider TM 

Zoomer

Now that the record industry has failed to inject emotion into electronic music via the cheesy sentiment proffered by clowns like Moby and the Chemical Brothers, we're ready for the real deal in '02.

On his second album, Zoomer, former German indie rocker Dirk Dresselhaus -- working under the name Schneider TM -- has managed to up the emotional ante, infusing seemingly cold digital rhythmscapes with heartfelt left-pop angst, forging an irresistibly alienated new-century aesthetic -- and this shit sounds good.

Following his 1998 debut, the instrumental Moist, Schneider TM took things to another level with 2000's Binokular. The EP featured Dresselhaus singing through a vocoder over a shiny electronic backdrop. That same MO works wonders on Zoomer's vocals, filtering real human alienation through technology's neutral signifiers in true German style. The ambient-tech "Frogtoise" alternates insomniac verses with choruses that ponder reptile-amphibian fusion, while the off-kilter "Abyss" sluices chants through electro beats swarming with Mediterranean flutes and Motownish backing vocals.

Though Dresselhaus surrounds Zoomer with an ozone of insectoid digital buzz, it deprives the album of none of its warmth. But the true spirit lies in the producer's effects-coated voice, which delivers his mantralike lyrics with all the dispassionate wonder of Velvets-era Lou Reed.

The result is an electric sheen that imprints the listener with Schneider's seemingly tender, shyboy android persona-- sullen with a pageboy haircut and flickering circuitry on the back of his neck. Zoomer's soulful tech-indie hybrid could prove a useful sonic blueprint for this age of nu-anxiety.

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