Android Automatic: Mojave (Katuktu Collective, 2017)

Android Automatic: Mojave (Katuktu Collective, 2017)

by Jason

Android Automatic is the synth laden brainchild of Michael Gene. Armed with analog synths, Gene pumps up the 80’s nostalgia while never being derivative. Mojave transports the listener to an age when the analog synths reigned supreme and their titular synthesis pumped through the speakers above dance floors across the world. Moving the listener through synthetic worlds without feeling harsh or robotic, Gene creates electronic thought worlds that ring with urban cityscapes or the sorts of adventures one takes in an 80’s muscle car through the lanes of Route 66. Given that Gene is from Detroit, that feel seems like it’s no mistake.

Mojave begins with “Dark Roads”. There is a tranquility to the beginning of the song that rings out like the 80’s film soundtracks of yesteryear.  The spacey quality, with droney synths and cymbal taps gives way to more aggressive sounds at about 1:18. The guitar tones and sounds are so reminiscent of their place in the 80’s synth catalog it is uncanny but don’t get me wrong, Gene’s work feels fresh amidst the throwback nature of his compositions. “Running Late” explodes into the speakers and gets the body moving. Evoking the neon lights, shimmering dance floors, and glossy finishes of 80’s dance clubs, Gene just hits all the right notes and beats here. It’s as if someone found a long lost 80’s soundtrack to a long lost 80’s film.

“Mojave” floats through the speakers with echoing, shimmering synths and gorgeously placed drum machine percussion. This titular track really encapsulates the feel of the album and is the heart of its general feel. “Sex in a Dream” recalls the unbridled elation with pleasure the 80’s brought to the fore. This could be the background music to a scene where Lane meets Monique in the film Better Off Dead. Slinky and yet simple, the track thumps into the speakers with a heartbeat like trance and twinkling synths that mesmerize. “Boardwalk ‘82” pulsates with hints of spacy synths and slowly driving percussion. Guitars fill out the track with a brilliantly catchy melody.

“Searching for You” has deep thumping synths that are accented by pounding percussion and that electronic tom sound the 80’s brought to the fore. The percussion here is driving and danceable. The melodies play among the drums sounds with guitars accenting the feel of the track. The last track is entitled “Lost in the Desert Sky” and begins with an almost ambient feel that gives way to a subtle percussion line. Variations in the melody here are gorgeously subtle and brilliantly placed. It’s a slow motion, beautiful composed final track to Mojave.

Michael Gene, that is Android Automatic, has constructed something magical here. If one listens to his back catalog as well, you find similar brilliance. Mojave is sonic time-travel but without being derivative. It is fresh, captivating, and dazzling. Buy a copy of Mojave and be transported to a time when analog synths ruled movie soundtracks and the dance floor. The album will be released on September 15th on Cassette and digital. Pick up a copy! You won’t be disappointed!


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