(Piece of Work)


羅伯特, a phonetic transliteration of the word “Robert”, is the alter ego of San Francisco techno DJ and producer Robert Yang, aka Bézier, who cut his teeth in queer nightlife collective Honey Soundsystem and now splits his time between his hometown and Berlin. If you have a sense from that combination of names, identities and locations about how Lexicon, Yang’s second record as 羅伯特, sounds, then you’re about two thirds right: 30 of the 45 minutes here is battle-hardened no-nonsense acid techno, super four-square and muscular, repetitive and robofunking, with hulking hooks and relentless drive – the kind that’s brilliantly impossible to sit still to and undeniably moreish, even if half an hour is actually about the right amount in any environment outside a dark sweaty club. 

The remainder of Lexicon, though, is given over to slightly stranger fare that offers a welcome break from the rave: ‘Inhalation’ and ‘Pseudonym’ are woozy, funereal stomps whose sinister atmosphere would ably soundtrack a ’90s video game boss battle, and ‘Assimilate’ has almost post-rock roots, with its saw-tooth distorted riff and heavy dynamics. These investigations don’t always mesh with the surrounding techno, but taken, as its title suggests, as a collection of Yang’s musical vocabulary, Lexicon shows admirable range, depth and heft.