Reclusive Dutch producer impresses...
'Imaginary Lines'

Fatima Yamaha has always had this album in his locker. From a pretty dormant back catalogue reawakened by 'What's a Girl to Do' catching a second wind this year, the Dutchman's lot is quite the synth mixture of aggressive and regressive New Romanticism, Chromeo's knowledge of tongue in cheek funk that's shamelessly good for a groove, a modern bright young thing with a conversely pasty outlook, and fixing Rockwell's surveillance camera to his synth bank.

Without over complication or spreading himself too thinly, Yamaha mix-and-matches the brightly tipped with the need to reach for the light switch/blacklight. 'Love Invaders', canny enough to edge into pastiche status through its accompanying, made-for-Halloween-shower scene falsetto, and the excellently ambiguous stalking of 'Citizens' featuring Sofie Winterson, are the stand out electro-R&B returns for all seasons. Where 'Only of the Universe' is understated enough to reach out to the charts, all Sunday morning easiness and polygon butterflies, 'Night Crossing' finds itself in an industrial No Man's Land, showing that the synth work is not all shtick.

Sometimes Yamaha is just satisfied with weaving, layered dancefloor tenancy, and there's the feeling that despite the constant changes in outlook, he makes a point of getting the most from a small pool of presets and plug-ins, rather than trapping himself in a crucible of keyboards. 'Migratory Floozy' and the title track are big haired 80s clinches where the figure in your nightmares becomes real: go-slows allowing emotional seepage – pretty much genuine, despite the synthetic front – that keep up with upfront maximalism.

The album's cohesion is just about there for something that's only ten tracks and 45 minutes long, and you'll walk away sold on the idea of Yamaha's mystery - i.e. - yes, it could all just be a dream.


Words: Matt Oliver

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