Mego Goes Analogue
In its original incarnation, the Mego label focussed on bringing Viennese digital electronica artists like Fennesz, Pita, Farmers Manual and General Magic to an unsuspecting world. As the label’s profile grew, so did it’s A&R remit and quality control started to suffer.
The reborn Editions Mego retains the eclecticism Mego embraced towards the end of its first life but has thus far done a better job of consistently issuing worthwhile albums. The label’s recent release of two excellent LPs by American retro synth acts is testament to this fact.
Does it Look Like I’m Here by Emeralds is that rare beast – a double LP which doesn’t overstay it’s welcome. The breezier side of krautrock is a clear influence here, with Neu! and Popol Vuh being two obvious reference points. Tracks like “Double Helix” are remarkably concise and executed with such aplomb that the music’s lack of originality hardly seems like an issue.
Still, Emeralds hardly seems like a terribly intriguing musical proposition when compared to Daniel Lopatin’s Oneohtrix Point Never. OPN’s Returnal confounds expectations by beginning with a blast of sliced-up noise worthy of a first-generation Mego act like Rehberg & Bauer. Much of the rest of Returnal falls back on Lopatin’s usual mix of evocative arpeggios and drones but it still manages to reaffirm that Oneohtrix is about way more than mere retro pastiche. The processed vocal on the title track is a particularly nice touch.
Both of these albums are career high points for the artists concerned. The vinyl is likely to go out of print very quickly, so act fast.