Band of the Day

2011.12.07

Ford And Lopatin

80s electro jams for when nerds take over the world
No more lo-fi, too much freeway, synchronize my afterlife.
lyrics from Too Much Midi

Ford and Lopatin is a new wave-inspired electro duo from Brooklyn, New York. The group, which formed in 2010 under the name Games, is composed of keyboardists Joel Ford (from Tigercity) and Daniel Lopatin (from Oneohtrix Point Never). They are heavily influenced by '80s synth-pop production techniques from the likes of OMD, Duran Duran and Flock of Seagulls - and their songs tend to be danceable and hook-infused. The group's debut single Everything is Working was released in 2010 to vinyl and MP3 on Hippos in Tanks Records, followed by their 12" EP entitled That We Can Play later that year. In 2011, the duo formed their own record label, Software Records (a subsidiary of Mexican Summer Records), and released the Emergency Room 12" single as well as their debut LP Channel Pressure.

If Lamda Lamda Lamda, the geek fraternity in 80s comedy classic Revenge of the Nerds was real, their sleek lounge would never go more than a few hours without playing a Ford & Lopatin track. The Brooklyn-based duo mine all things 80s in their pursuit to craft the kitschiest, catchiest synth pop this side of the Human League. Ford & Lopatin are Daniel Lopatin and Joel Ford, friends in their late 20s whose friendship goes back to the 6th grade. Lopatin is best known as the mastermind behind Oneohtrix Point Never, acclaimed ambient electronic drone act, while Ford is a member of new-wave inspired dance rockers Tigercity. Together, their music is light heartedly stuffed with tongue in cheek 80s cliches, and is quite possibly the ideal music for doing the robot. Ford & Lopatin are masters at manipulating electronics. The synth and vocoder tones on their 2011 debut Channel Pressure are lush and organic, the result of a studio full of vintage analog gear. “Too Much MIDI (Please Forgive Me)” begins with waves of dark synthesizer crashing against machine-like drumbeats and deep, vocoded vocals. Things heat up in the chorus as a clipped synth and lead guitar swoops in and the vocals get … sexy. It has an R&B feel to it, much like Junior Boys or a nerdy R. Kelly. “Emergency Room” sounds like the theme song to the coolest 80s instructional video that never existed. The vocoded vocals are incredibly slick, even breathy as they power through the best hook on the album “All the way to emergency room / Ambulance inertia, I'm okay.” “World of Regret” is another slice of pitch-perfect 80s redux. There's synths all over the place, in the bass line, in the high end, burping across the vocal. The instrumentation is lush and lots of fun, but once again Ford & Lopatin show their knack for great vocal hooks, letting the computer change the vocals just enough to be a bit different, but still maintain a great melody. You could dismiss Ford & Lopatin as a prankster side project, but you'd be missing out on some of the most skillfully crafted and enjoyable dance-pop of the year.