Pop Culture
Jul 10, 2013, 10:11AM

Space-Age Bachelor Mentalist Muzak

Stereolab's Tim Gane and the rapper Tes, in startling collision.

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In a way, "Shoot Shoot" reminds me a lot of C.F.C.'s "Goldie" remix from last year: chalk it up to the free-associative lyrical card-shuffling and the cut-up technique A-D-D of the "Shoot Shoot" video.

Both songs make it seem as if the listener is two or three steps over the line of perceptual self-possession while cuffed to an especially voluble lunatic. The difference, though, is that while C.F.C. was squinting through dense clouds of weed smoke under the influence of a drastic rework of A$AP Rocky's screwed-up single, NYC rapper Tes drops mad science over a tangential quadrilateral quasar designed by Tim Gane.

Fans of UK indie-rock may remember Gane as the burbling mutant-pop brain behind Stereolab; fronted by freon-voiced French chanteuse Laetitia Sadier, that group (or "Groop") ran on engines fueled by Moogs, Farfisa, and questionable musical taste. String sections, tag-team choirs, and dizzying flurries of horns burst from their songs, until 2009, when an indefinite hiatus was announced. Sadier launched a solo career; Gane produced some High Llamas albums and, seemingly, vanished.

Until now. On "Shoot Shoot," Gane lashes Tes into a NASA G-force simulator and, amid synthesized sirens and reservoir pianos, launches him into orbit. The song suggests a violent trawl through phases of Stereolab's career: an extended two-tone rampage of plunging ivories; a wordless, fluorescent ahhhhh that feels cavernous, vase-like; a sustained upchuck of male voice that enervates; the stark thermite flare of an electrical guitar. Against the foregrounded snap of Tes' pointed, pullquote-unfriendly flow—tumbling yet aware, vainglorious, rapid-fire, endless—it sounds like a rebirth and a fully reasonable next step.


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