Release Date: Nov 27, 2012
Record label: Nettwerk
Genre(s): Electronic, Club/Dance, Funky Breaks, Big Beat
Dutch born musician Junkie XL (Tom Holkenborg) has been in the game for 15 years. A musician exhibiting wide range, Junkie XL serves as a producer, teacher, composer, and remixer. He’s assisted Hans Zimmer on numerous film scores (including The Dark Knight Rises and Inception) as well as provided music for a variety of video games. After a four-year hiatus, Junkie XL returns in top-notch form with 2012 release Synthesized, via Nettwerk.
Having broken through back in 2002 with his remix of Elvis Presley's "A Little Less Conversation," Dutch producer Tom Holkenborg, aka Junkie XL, spent the next decade doing what DJs used to do -- that is, mixing the pop superstars, landing tracks in video games, and gaining a loyal following through his EDM albums, which go from electro to big beat as if dance music wasn't following a linear timeline. Strange thing was, DJ culture blew up big time while he was covering esoteric new wave hits (check his redo of Siouxsie and the Banshees' "Cities in Dust" for an aggro industrial explosion), and suddenly Skrillex and Swedish House Mafia were taking relentless electronic dance music out of the IT department and into the stadiums, frats, sororities, and malls and on to download cues. Good news, then, that this DJ -- who seems equal parts Fatboy Slim, KMFDM, and Oakenfold -- hasn't sold his soul to the bass drop or the post-trance gloss of the Swedish set, as Synthesized comes off like a time machine, speeding through electronic music's pre-dubstep past while giving all genres the JXL spin.
Synthesized is more than the title of Junkie XL’s sixth-studio release, it’s an underlying theme of the 11-track effort. Approaching middle-age, the electronic-maestro is still enjoying the crest of his career; pulling together diverse artists from across the electronic spectrum in an effort to celebrate the heritage, diversification, and explosion of dance music. Born Tom Holkenborg in the Netherlands during the tail end of 1968, the producer has had a window seat for the multiple phases of MDMA-fueled club life; a synthesized mood enhancer that is central to multiple tracks within the LP.