If people hear the phrase “Information Society,” they tend to think of a synthpop/electronic act and their big hit, “What’s On Your Mind (Pure Energy).” If you haven’t followed underground synthpop music over the past decade, then you would probably think that Information Society had disappeared without a trace. In the mid-to-late 1990’s, lead vocalist Kurt Harland had actually released some material under the name Information Society, but he has since given the rights to the name back to the other members of the group, and Kurt is now focusing on composing music for games.
Now, with a new vocalist, Information Society has returned. As a preview to their Synthesizer album, the group released the Oscillator EP. The EP was first released as a online download on March 19, 2007, through retailers such as iTunes. Then, a limited edition pressing of 500 CDs was issued on June 21, 2007. The CD contains three songs (“Back in the Day,” “I Like The Way You Werk It,” and “Great Big Disco World,” as well as three remixes of “Back in the Day,” one remix of “I Like The Way You Werk It,” and a CD-Rom video for “I Like The Way You Werk It”).
The disc starts off with “Back in the Day.” Musically, this track is a major progression from the group’s earlier material, and it definitely sounds like the kind of material you’d hear from the current underground synthpop scene. Although, there are some slight hints of earlier Information Society, which is most noticeable with the hi-hat sounds. At times on this song, new vocalist Christopher Anton sounds like Stefan Netschio from Beborn Beton. “Back in the Day” is definitely a danceable track, which is what one would expect from Information Society.
Next is “I Like the Way You Werk It,” and musically, it sounds a little closer to what listeners would think of as the “Information Society sound”; however, it still has a more “modern” sound to it. This one would also fall into the danceable category. If I’m only half-listening to this song, there are times in the chorus that you think you’re hearing Kurt Harland singing instead of Christopher Anton.
This is followed by “Great Big Disco World,” a song that was recorded live in Japan and features a guest appearance by Colleen Fitzpatrick (aka Vitamin C). This is definitely the most “pop friendly” song on the disc, and is a fun, upbeat ditty. Musically, the song reminds me of “Fall in Line,” one of Information Society’s songs from the early 1980’s.
There are three remixes of “Back in the Day” on the disc: the Electro Roots Mix, the Kasino/Maxpop Mix, and the Jr. Kain & Arvy Mix. To me, the Electro Roots mix was the best of the three; musically, it added a little more of a freestyle sound to the track, but incorporates a harder bassline than one would normally associate with freestyle. The Kasino/Maxpop Mix gives the music a “harder” sound, and the track isn’t quite as dance friendly as the original version of the song. The Jr. Kain & Arvy Mix gives the song less of an underground synthpop sound and helps the song sound more like a mainstream dance track.
The disc also features the Jr. Kain & Arvy Mix of “I Like the Way You Werk It.” Unfortunately, to me, this is the weakest track on the whole disc. The mix takes too long to get going, it isn’t very dance friendly, and overall, it feels like it’s nearly plodding. The mix is too long, and I found it to be rather boring.
The “I Like the Way You Werk It” video definitely looked like there wasn’t much of a budget for it. While, yes, this is an underground synthpop video, and it isn’t going to have much of a budget, the video definitely seemed to be screaming this fact loud and clear. Now, I understand that one of the lines in the chorus is, “You drive me crazy when you do the robot,” but I think they took the robot motif a little too far. For most of the video, you’re seeing dancing robots or footage of people trying to dance like robots. Right near the end, though there is a brief bit of performance footage of the band… but the key word here is “brief.”
Overall, Oscillator is a pretty good disc (with the main exception being the remix of “I Like the Way You Werk It”). If you are actually able to track down a copy, either new or used, of this item, and like Information Society, I would definitely recommend picking it up.
Back in the Day
I Like the Way You Werk It
Great Big Disco World
Back in the Day [Electro Roots Mix]
I Like the Way You Werk It [Jr. Kain & Arvy Mix]
Back in the Day [Kasino/Maxpop Mix]
Back in the Day [Jr. Kain & Arvy Mix]
CD-ROM Video Track: I Like The Way You Werk It