If Ford & Lopatin's bio is to be believed, Channel Pressure is a concept album about a "mild-mannered teenager" who's out to "overthrow a computer-ruled, megalomaniacal music industry with epic, world-changing MIDI jams." But let's be real here: The thing's a late-'80s version of what the future's supposed to look like, as if the passed-out teen on its spot-on sleeve is actually Marty McFly, or that Super Mario Bros. prodigy from the Fred Savage/Jenny Lewis movie The Wizard.
In other words, this record's a Robocop soundtrack waiting to happen — maybe in time for that franchise's Cruise-controlled reboot in a couple years? Either way, Channel Pressure's dystopian direction doesn't matter as much as the Brooklyn duo's immaculately mixed (by their new buddy Prefuse 73) melodies. Unlike Daniel Lopatin's solo synthcapades as Oneohtrix Point Never, his best work alongside Joel Ford (Tigercity) — the buffered beats, sleek samples, and post-Van Halen hooks of standouts like "The Voices," "Emergency Room" and "Too Much MIDI (Please Forgive Me)"— isn't aimed at Kraut-rock collectors and brow-furrowing noise heads. It's a radioactive time capsule of Top 40 tracks that lifts its loops from Reagan-era rock, pop and R&B. Media overload music, really; which seems oddly appropriate as the kid on Channel Pressure's cover falls asleep with the TV on like the rest of us.