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[Off The Record]
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Bent
PROGRAMMED TO LOVE
(MINISTRY OF SOUND)

Part of a new breed of classy European chill-out specialists that includes fellow Englishmen Zero 7 and Norwegian madcaps Röyksopp, this British duo work very hard to sound as effortless as possible on their debut album. They have garnered favorable comparisons to Air in the English press, and indeed, with its programmed swirls of keyboard tones, cotton-ball melodies, and cooled-down beats, Programmed To Love does recall the French outfitís effervescent Moon Safari ó itís a pleasing antidote to the tranceís merciless forward momentum and two-stepís fleet-footed excesses. Simon Mills and Nail Tolliday are at their best when they keep any impulse to legitimize bad taste in their leisure-suit breast pockets, instead allowing songs like the bleary "Cylons in Love," which grafts a vocodered robot come-on to a rudimentary acoustic-guitar strum, and "I Love My Man," which transforms Greek songbird Nana Mouskouriís tune of the same name into a hazy futuristic lullaby, to float through the room as freely as smoke from a carefully rolled joint.

BY MIKAEL WOOD

Issue Date: December 13 - 20, 2001

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