Album of the Day: Master Boot Record, “Virus.DOS”

A quick scan of Master Boot Record’s sprawling back catalog doesn’t reveal much besides a bunch of binary code album titles and computer monitor album art, both of which will trigger a nostalgia trip in ’90s kids who know Brian Eno’s Windows 95 startup theme by heart. But Victor Love’s meticulous electronic music isn’t as mechanical as his IDM-tinged song titles suggest. It’s actually quite animated, as if the Italian producer imagined a scorched-earth scenario where Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Wendy Carlos are forced to face off in front of a live studio audience—he’s Beethoven with a robotics degree and bloodlust.

“I always use the same set of sounds, which speeds up the mixing process and lets me focus on composition,” Love explained in a Bandcamp interview last year. “It’s a bit like pixel art: low resolution; high imagination. Creation out of limitations. Expression in a minimal framework.”

That’s certainly the case on Virus.DOS, a triumphant mix of melodic thrash metal, tortured chiptunes, and widescreen synthwave that clears the cache of last spring’s Direct Memory Access LP. While the sudden appearance of singer Öxxö Xööx made that album a love-or-loathe affair, Master Boot Record’s latest effort is prickly and to-the-point, fat-free, and full of life. It’s about as captivating as a computer crash gets—what the robots wanna hear when they take over, and Terminator 2 starts looking like a documentary. 

Andrew Parks

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