One thing that ties the monolith of electronic music together is that its fans love a good mystery. Daft Punk, Burial, Aphex Twin, SOPHIE, Actress and Deadmau5 all operate in wildly different artistic and commercial lanes, but all have succeeded by obscuring their identity. Anonymous producers and elaborate personas are built into the culture MODEL 86 that clearly loves. That much is clear from their giddy approach to beatmaking, that fuses unruly subgenres like wonky, plunderphonics and hyperpop together in colourful, vibe-oriented jams.
We don’t know who MODEL 86 is – they’re heavily pixelated in all marketing material. There’s a chance it’ll turn out to be Joe Goddard or someone. But the music on their debut album has the confidence to match their lofty myth-building. The opening run of ‘I don’t wanna go’, ‘AlldayAllday’ and ‘TRILL’ are brash club bangers that recall classic Hudson Mohawke and Flume without feeling stale.
Then there’s ‘So we’re here then’, a clattering mood piece that builds with glittery synth swells and sharp vocal cuts before melting into a gorgeous string outro. ‘Find My Feet’ marries both sides of MODEL 86 excellently, its funk piano breakdown cutting through the gloriously scatter-brained mix.
Many of the tracks here function as a showcase of ideas rather than fully-formed songs, which can occasionally lead to underwhelming endings. Still, Model 86 is brimming with ideas – their approach is anything but faceless.