Joakim: Nothing Gold

Since around 2002, Joakim Bouaziz has been a prolific remixer and producer. He’s also head honcho of Tigersushi, the home of Poni Hoax. Nothing Gold is his fourth album, following 2009’s Milky Way. It’s also his first for Tigersushi. 

Some of Tigersushi’s remix releases hint at where Nothing Gold is coming from. 80s electro tracks by Soft Cell, Gina X, and rhythm-based outfits like Minimal Compact and ESG have been matched up with current-day mixers. Most revealingly, Tigersushi issued a 12” featuring 'Hollywood;, a track from Cluster’s 1974 landmark album Zuckerzeit, the set which defined a new synth pop. The key cut on Nothing Gold, the hypnotic 'Find A Way', pitches that era of Cluster (or Ralf and Florian Kraftwerk) against the dry, relentless bloopiness of early Marshall Jefferson.
Nothing Gold though, after its opening intro cut (titled “Intro”), initially suggests that it might be at one with the French Touch electropop that’s normally associated with fellow producer Philippe Zdar. 'Forever Young' has the lazy, conversational vocal of Phoenix and a melody line borne on slabs of stabbing synth. Excepting 'Labyrinth', most of what ensues is darker, less about melody, more about synths, atmosphere and repeated rhythm patterns – some of which, as on the title cut, nod towards 'Life During Wartime' Talking Heads. 'Piano Magic' also injects a flavour of The Art Of Noise’s 'Moments In Love.'
This is a producer’s album, steeped in references, with the slightly chill feel of a laboratory experiment. Cuts work individually, but overall it’s hard to be drawn in by the Nothing Gold’s downbeat coolness.
© Kieron Tyler