Shake Your Body Down, the new mixtape from Digits, runs heavy with the same fever that captured underground disco music across Europe in the '70s. From Giorgio Moroder's royal arrangements to the spectrum of flared, synthetic passion in Italo disco, the collection's most visible achievement is its embracing of its lineage, with breathy, exaggerated entreaties and vintage synths stacked as high as the rafters.
The vast majority of this tape continues just so, blasting notes out like a steel press amongst rising, pretty chords. You've heard the beat on songs like the title track and "Keeping Secrets" (Remix) a thousand times before, but here it encourages you to dance in a way that cut-and-paste synthpop just can't allow for. There's always a strong sense of play to the music, even at its most claustrophobic, as on the industrial crunch of "Lost Dream." Occasionally it even gets explicit, as on the hilarious, Mighty Boosh-ian "Fuck On The Moon," a track from Bad Passion, the new project of Digits' Alt Altman and his collaborator Lesley Passion. It's one of two intrusions by the two-piece on the tape, and so gives it a sense of immediate timeliness: this is a sampling of where Altman is now.
He takes time to wander, as well. "Sin Delays," his collaboration with "dark new age" crew Doomsquad proves his dopamine-soaked synth waves play well with more dour, nebulous material. But "Do You Feel It?" stands out: it's quilted in an uncannily cerulean ambience and stripped of anything remotely dancey. In its stead, Altman extends his vocals to lead the track, and the result is like a more plodding, tentative version of the dreaminess Majical Cloudz achieved on their latest reinvention.
Getting down is serious business, but it's nothing if not fun. The laughs you'll get from Shake Your Body Down does not undermine the passion, but flavours it, adds humanity to the places camp and cheese usually leave barren. Like the instruments used in their creation, the songs on Shake Your Body Down are built with longevity in mind.