High-octane nu-electro, both baroque and surging
Less widely feted than his countrymen Justice, Vitalic isn't really paparazzi material, even on the hipster circuit. But he knows how to rile up his crowds, making Flash Mob a pretty spot-on title, evocative of the throbbing, strobing sea of bodies and cameras lapping up against the stage at his sweaty, adrenaline-charged performances. Vitalic's not as bombastic as some of his peers in the so-called nu-electro scene. Yes, Flash Mob has plenty of full-bore moments, like the opening "See the Sea (Red)," lashed with overdriven synth leads and rock-inspired stomp, or the rave revival "Terminateur Benelux," which explodes a vocal sample (from Moby's "Go") over a breathless disco gallop, cowbells and all, and fires up zig-zagging synth stabs in homage to the amphetamine glory of Belgian hardcore.
But Vitalic also has an uncommonly musical sensibility, and tracks like "Still," "Allain Delon" and even the charging "Flashmob" derive most of their power from clever, contrapuntal sequences that harmonize in unexpected ways, with tone clusters ricocheting from major to minor with every collision. It's an almost classical aesthetic, Baroque in its obsession with interlocking pieces and buzzing intonation. You get the sense that Vitalic could make equally mean music if he were unplugged and provided with nothing more than a harpsichord — that and, perhaps, a can of gasoline.