‘Out of the Black’: Boys Noize takes on good versus evil of electro (album review)
Not having released an album in three years, Alex Ridha — better known as electro extraodinaire, Boys Noize — makes his highly anticipated full-length return. In 2007, Ridha broke ground with his unique blend of sounds on his 2007 debut album Oi Oi Oi, and after taking a step forward with Power in 2009, he confidently returns to the basics that put him in the leagues of Justice and Daft punk for his brand new 2012 release Out of the Black.
The 12-track effort combines sounds from all ends from the electronica spectrum, including, but not limited to, techno, acid-house, break, indie-dance, and orchestral electro. Rather than forcing a new sound, Ridha stands by what he knows best, and confidently applies them to modern music. Out of the Black reflects a theme of good versus evil as the album hits back and forth with darker and lighter tracks.
1. Boys Noize – What You Want (Original Mix)
The album’s opener makes a statement both in its production quality and repetitive “This is what you want, this is what you get” vocal loop. Grinding through distorted twists and turns, and playing with indie strings, “What You Want” grows into a fusion of dark sounds and melodic nu-disco.
2. Boys Noize – XTC (Original Mix)
Having been the famed opener for many of his live sets, fans are most familiar with “XTC.” Inching towards techno with the build, a prominent bassline provides backbone and acid house undertones ensue. Not to be confused with the likes of “Molly,” “XTC” is less of a shot at drug culture and more of an underground club tune.
3. Boys Noize – Missile (Original Mix)
The next track further captures acid house, and simply but efficiently embodies the basic production elements. Alex uses “Missile” to set the tone, lending rhythm to the dark side.
4. Boys Noize – Ich R U (Original Mix)
Building on the simplicity of its predecessor, “Ich R U” starts slow but grows with its vocal loop and evolving bassline. As the track progresses, Boys Noize drifts from the dark side to the light, transforming the gritty elements into melodic ones.
5. Boys Noize – Rocky 2 (Original Mix)
Coming off the lightest vibe the album has seen yet, Alex quickly changes the mood once again with “Rocky 2.” Relentless signs of dubstep and an irking resemblance to what would be the electronic version of heavy metal, completely redirecting the albums trajectory.
6. Boys Noize feat. Gizzle – Circus Full of Clowns (Original Mix)
Boys Noize takes his first stab at fusing hip hop with electro on “Circus Full of Clowns,” as the production itself takes back seat to the prominent vocal loop. Hypnotic waves of airy distortion play background noise to the hip-hop from Gizzle, and not much else is to be said about the soothing sounds on this experimental piece.
7. Boys Noize & Siriusmo – Conchord (Original Mix)
The album becomes once again familiar with “Conchord,” where the theme of bad versus evil is most evident. Building with electro elements that are a balance of the extremes we’ve heard on the rest of the album, the piano loop gains steam before a signature Boyz Noise drop. Classic Boys Noize, “Conchord” exemplifies confidence in the basics while executing a next level sound.
8. Boys Noize – Touch It (Original Mix)
Here is where we get a unique sense of flavor from the album. Straight out of the books of Daft Punk, “Touch It” embodies that very French electro sound while battling the broken riffs that belong to Boys Noize. If at a loss for words when trying to identify what this album is about, “Touch It” stamps the nu-electro label.
9. Boys Noize – Reality (Original Mix)
Further embracing the french electro meets techno vibe, “Reality” builds upon those sounds with its intricate melody and enticing vocal. The versatility comes to fruition when each element combines to juxtapose yet compliment each other in a way not many could master.
10. Boys Noize – Merlin (Original Mix)
The album’s inner conflict of dark versus light is ever so evident on “Merlin,” where a heavenly melody preaches above a rolling bassline and builds for a devilish drop. Less electro, more techno, “Merlin” tells the tale of Out of the Black all on its own.
11. Boys Noize – Stop (Original Mix)
As the last “Stop” for electro on the album, Alex takes the chance to turn things up with an exhilarating build and complex break down. Not even the spellbinding vocal loop can distract you from recognizing frenetic sounds left, right, and all over the production.
12. Boys Noize feat. Snoop Dogg – Got It (Original Mix)
Closing the album with another hip-hop tune, Alex finds a way to fit Snoop Dogg into an electro production as many before him have failed to do. “Got It” proves that Boys Noize percussion elements are so abstract they are not only fit to stand alone in electronica but are versatile enough to fit rhythmic hip-hop.
Who else could be responsible for such an album? Out of the Black reflects nothing but confidence from Boys Noize, as he calls upon the vintage style he knows best and reassembles it for a modern day version of what we all fell in love with from the start. The ability to stick to basics while staying relevant proves that Alex Ridha has been ahead of his time since dropping his first album in 2007, and remains ahead of his time after mastering his 2012 LP.