Huoratron, Cryptocracy

Christina Lee

By Christina Lee

on 04.24.12 in Reviews
Drawing a thin line between man and machine

When Finland’s Huoratron toyed with two reconfigured Game Boys to create his first songs, he understood that he was orchestrating with playthings that, by 2002, had lost much of their entertainment value. But on debut full-length Cryptocracy, armed with far more than just a few primitive handheld gaming devices, Huoratron seems to be spinning a yarn of once-dead, now resurrected technology that’s come back to seek revenge. Sounds of malfunctioning equipment — sparks, emergency sirens, even flaccid rubber thumping on pavement — eat at Huoratron’s muscular beats like maggots on a meaty carcass. The title track’s aggressive laser warfare synths stifle what sounds like faint cries, and the flickering “A699F” is peppered with fighting grunts fit for Street Fighter. Such a merciless machine-led takeover may be all in Huoratron’s imagination. But, as the repeated anguished screeching of a dial-up modem in “Top 1 Percent” eerily suggests, the line between man and machine can often be unsettlingly thin.