Less Than Humanby The Juan MacLean
During the majority of the '90s, John Maclean was a central member of Six Finger Satellite, one of the most unique bands to plant itself in the post-punk continuum. The post-punk continuum was neither popular nor prone to faded facsimile during these years. Maclean became increasingly frustrated and checked out. DFA's James Murphy, who had done live sound and production work for the band, eventually coaxed Maclean (with help from label and studio partner Tim Goldsworthy) to become involved with music again. Four years after the final Six Finger Satellite album, Maclean resurfaced with a new approach, one that transferred the deep-space Krautrock and some of the antagonistic electronic elements of his band -- indicated in song titles like "Fur Immer Liebe," "Do the Suicide," and "Massive Cocaine Seizure" -- into a relatively healthier state of mind and onto the dancefloor, with prodding post-punk replaced with glazed electro-disco. A handful of singles into his new routine, including one the DFA label's greatest triumphs ("You Can't Have It Both Ways"), Maclean delivered an album that incorporates a couple previously released productions (neither of which had appeared in full on a CD) into a program otherwise designed more for home than communal listening. Helped primarily by Murphy, Goldsworthy, and vocalist Nancy Whang, the tracks on Less Than Human form a fluid whole that will doubtlessly leave some fans of the singles disappointed. The silicone disco-funk of "Give Me Every Little Thing" excepted, the album's pleasures come gradually rather than instantly. Maclean uses all his space to stretch out, especially on "Dance With Me," a subtle and only partially conscious 14-minute closer. And yet, the album is still concise and restrained, clocking in at just over 45 minutes. Less Than Human might not be what a lot of people expected, but it fits its format as well as any hard-hitting two-track single, and it's a lot more functional than most other albums made by dance artists.
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Performance CreditsJuan MacLean Primary Artist,Vocals,Various
Nancy Whang Vocals
James Murphy Vocals
Nick Atocha Drums
Jerry Fuchs Drums
Technical CreditsTim Goldsworthy Composer
Juan MacLean Composer,Producer,Engineer,Graphic Design,Audio Production
DFA Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Nancy Whang Composer
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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The most successful blend of man and machine yet from the DFA label. The naive synth melodies and vocoder crooning harken back to Kraftwerk and friends, but the rock drums and jam-band pacing resurrect the earlier moment when funk was morphing into disco. LCD Soundsystem's Nancy Whang mars a few tracks with annoying vocals. Otherwise, one of the best products of the current NYC scene.