Games GamesThat We Can Play
HIPPOS IN TANKS (H I T 005, 12” + digital)
Bamboo sounds, electronic drums, keytars, radio-friendly voices: Games is not just an attempt at eighties pop revival with an Italo disco fixation, but the creation of a parallel reality in which nostalgia –which can only be felt by people who have lived through a certain period– has transformed into an obsession more typical of someone who wasn’t even there (or born yet) at the time. To Games, the duo formed by Joel Ford ( Tigercity) and Daniel Lopatin ( Oneohtrix Point Never), the futurist aesthetic of those years –a domestic and naive futurism focussed on video tapes, simple, computer-generated fractal designs for TV skits, special effects fin Hollywood cinema and the massive introduction of electronics to the radio pop format– is an obsession like Ancient Egypt or the Napoleon wars can be for others. With this second EP, after a 7” that substituted the kosmische influence of OPN for AOR pop dissolved in vaporous sounds, the project reaches its next level.
“That We Can Play” is one of the 12”s you need to get because it has everything a memory exercise of this kind should have. It holds a perfect balance between kitsch –or pastiche, if you wish– and pure melodic inspiration, pop excellence. There are key contributions by the likes of Laurel Halo –and here passionate and gloomy voice on “Strawberry Skies”, like Kate Bush reborn in a post-disco context–, they cite producers like Thomas Dolby on “Planet Party” and they copy one of Jan Hammer’s many production styles on “Midi Drift”, with it’s title that’s quintessential Games: it shows the playful side at the same time as the obsession with retro technology. But the key to this single, which includes a ghostly Gatekeeper remix and another one by Games themselves for CFCF ( “It Was Never Meant To Be”) on the digital version, is neither of these tracks, in spite of the heights they reach with their virtuous keyboard riffs. It is in fact “Shadows In Bloom”, the Italo hymn a la Ken Lazslo or Ryan Paris that the hypnagogia generation still owed the world. Believe the hype: Games exceed all expectations in only eleven minutes.