Hot Chip straddles pop and electronica
By Michael D. Ayers
NEW YORK (Billboard) - The five members of electro-pop outfit Hot Chip have become successful in two very different ways.
On one hand, they're sought-after remixers, twisting tracks by such pop stars as Amy Winehouse, Gorillaz and Queens of the Stone Age into extended club hits. But they've also garnered a reputation for their concerts, which incorporate the best elements of dance music while retaining the feel of a live band.
These attributes, and an endearingly nerdy persona in the vein of Devo and Kraftwerk, have helped Hot Chip break out internationally with tracks like "Over and Over" and "Boy From School" from last year's album "The Warning."
"Often people get confused, because they think we're electronic. But we play instruments," frontman Alexis Taylor says. "You dance, but you also have songs. It's like the most confusing thing in the world. I've never been someone who makes it on the computer and then re-creates it on the computer."
For its third album, "Made in the Dark," due Feb.. 5 on Astralwerks, Hot Chip attempted to re-create that onstage chemistry in the studio.
"I was interested in changing the acoustic space from song to song, so you didn't know where it was coming from," Taylor says, citing Bob Dylan's oft-derided 1970 collection "Self Portrait" as an inspiration. "Not just changing the style of song, but the way it's being recorded. I wanted to jump a bit between the two versions within the song, so you're literally playing it live, then it goes sequenced. This is really interesting to me."
Hot Chip wastes no time incorporating this technique on the new album. On opener "Out at the Pictures," the first portion is taken from a live recording at San Francisco's Fillmore, before abruptly shifting into the band's studio take. Elsewhere, there's a return to the balladry that early listeners heard on the group's first EP, "Mexico."
While fielding a flurry of remix requests, Hot Chip will be on the road for the majority of 2008, beginning in February.
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