Boys Noize, Oi Oi Oi

Philip Sherburne

By Philip Sherburne

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

It would be hard to think of a more appropriate artist alias for Berlin's Alex Ridha than his current one, Boys Noize. Akin to Justice and Digitalism, Ridha specializes in an aggressive, overdriven take on dance music that's plenty noisy and not a little macho to boot. Like his "blog-house" brethren, Ridha clearly worships at the base of Daft Punk's pyramid. (More precisely, at the knobs of their compressors: Boys Noize tracks like "Don't Believe the Hype" and "Arcade Robot" are shoomping homages to Daft Punk's peculiar sonic attack, creating the illusion of floating inside an enormous, robotic bellows.) But despite album titles like the skinheaded chant of Oi Oi Oi, or maybe because of Boys Noize overblown aesthetic, a generous dose of camp tempers Ridha's macho — right down to an alias more than faintly redolent of homoeroticism. For all the wallop of his distorted synthesizer riffs, they tend to land wearing velvet gloves.

Dance music that’s plenty noisy and not a little macho to boot.

Unlike other artists on Ed Banger and Kitsuné, Boys Noize distinguishes itself by leaning less towards Anglo-American rock than to German techno. His sickly, digitized "Frau" is a remix of a 2004 track by the Italian minimal-techno duo Und, while more straight-ahead arpeggiator showcases like "& Down" wouldn't sound out of place on a label like Ada's Areal. But that's not to say that Ridha can't be as pop as he wants: "My Moon My Man" gloriously reconfigures Feist's song into a goofy riot of vocoders, buzzsaw synths and high-necked, New Order bass lines. It's touches like this that keep Oi Oi Oi listenable over long periods despite its crush of 8-bit noise — though you may not feel like playing video games for a while afterwards.