Stero Total: Musique Automatique

Stero Total: Musique Automatique

Stero Total: Musique Automatique
Label: Bobsled
Release Date: 2001
Review Date: 2002

Stereo Total is low-tech garage-sale electronic pop music along the vein of a more girly Trio, if you can imagine that. It’s a guy and a girl who live in Berlin. I believe the Girl is French and the Guy is German. They make very silly and catchy pop music with what sounds like the barest of equipment. It’s so simple that it approaches brilliance at times. They sing in English, German, French, Italian, and Japanese, but mostly in French and German. How these guys ended up on a small record label in Aurora Illinois is beyond me. I went to high school in a neighboring town and I can vouch that nothing cool ever happens there. Of course, this is a new millennium.

In 1999 Stereo Total released two records within three months of each other – My Melody, and Juke-Box Alarm. This stuff isn’t exactly rocket science, but that’s pretty impressive. They must have worn themselves out because three years later we have Musique Automatique. I missed Juke-Box Alarm so I can only compare Musique Automatique to My Melody, which is excellent. Like it’s title, Musique Automatique is somewhat reminiscent of Kraftwerk. At least for the first half, an albeit a very silly Kraftwerk. About halfway through the pace picks up and turns more new wave-y. It’s darn good. It doesn’t grab you as quickly as My Melody does. Musique Automatique is more polished. Not much, but it is. No worries though, Stereo Total still has quite a bit to go before they reach the level of homogenized boredom that plagues all post-MTV Shonen Knife releases.

I have it on good authority from an eyewitness that they put on a high energy live show. Both Bobsled Records and Stereo Total have not-very-informational web sites which offer tour dates and not much else.. They are supposedly supporting the Strokes on a European tour. Judge them not by their html efforts. Give Musique Automatique a listen. If you’re not up on your French and German, the liner notes feature a quick English sentence or two that give you the gist, as well as some styley vector art.

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