Tom Holkenborg, aka Junkie XL, might be looked at as the great granddaddy of Dutch house, making his mark long before the new generation of artists stepped in. His career dates back to 1997, when “EDM” was called “Electronica”, which saw him releasing records alongside pioneering acts like The Prodigy and The Chemical Brothers. Steadily remixing tracks for your favorite pop artists, and releasing a new full-length every three years or so, Junkie XL stayed busy even when electronic music went through a dry spell in the U.S.
With his new LP, Synthesized, Junkie XL meshes a wide variety of styles, making it hard to place him in any kind of box. This album however finds him taking it back to the 80′s, relying heavily on synth driven tracks. While the album opens with the ethereal “Take Off On Molly’s E” – perhaps pandering to the younger generation – much of the rest of the album is a nod to their parents or older siblings. Songs like “Twilight Trippin’”, “Leave Behind Your Ego” or “Synthesized” could be the backdrops to any 80′s action or sci-fi flick, while the Curt Smith (Tears For Fears) featured “When Is Enough Not Enough” is unapologetic in it’s nostalgia factor. The best two cuts, however, lead right into each other, on the salacious “Love Machine” (featuring Tommie Sunshine) and the equally hot-to-trot “Gloria” with Datarock, both with capture some of the 80′s sleaziest moments. Check the videos for each for an added treat.
Given that Junkie XL seemed to opt for a conceptual album built around 80′s synths with this record, he dives into various different genres throughout the record. That being said, his experimentation with different styles may make it harder for some fans to grab ahold of, yet there are still plenty of stand out moments buried within.
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