Sex, Lies and Audio Tape—the latest LP from producer Gavin Bouma, aka Orgavin—draws a direct line from the darkly danceable and sensationalist electronica of the '90s to now. Like some of that moment's better artists, Bouma infuses his music with unlikely timbres—the left-field saxophone line that closes "If You Were Dead," for example, or the Nine Inch Nails-like acoustic guitar in "AMIFUR."
But Bouma's take on Trent Reznor's sonics accompanies a sense of humor. That title is an acronym for "Am I fucking you right?" His partner asks the question during post-relationship sex; suddenly, he realizes why they split up in the first place. Lurid details, readymade confessions and Bouma's creaky voice serve as systemic Orgavin trademarks throughout the album.
Those themes are welcome, too, as this is a marathon 66-minute record. Many of these songs last a verse too long, but it's easy to be caught in the tide of Bouma's excellent production. Orgavin serves up a meaty plate of factory-grown gristle and sinew in various forms. The closing instrumental, "Creep," sounds more like MF Doom than anything termed industrial. Even the happiest song on Sex, Lies and Audio Tape, the Filter-esque "It's Your Life," is a skuzzy, asymmetrical thing: "At least I know now that I have a soul," he sings during the album's sweetest moment.
The hard, goth body of Sex, Lies and Audio Tape probably isn't aiming for high art or even palatability; even within the realm of largely accessible dark electronica, Bouma wants you a little uncomfortable. He is a bass-lover, and the minimal, lounge-like ode to desolation, depression and stylized suicide, "Sundown of My Heart," hinges on his comfort with low frequencies. In twisted, physical S&M grinders like "Thinking Of" and "Breath You In," his swinging bass bridges sultriness with mental instability. This kind of lust and sex doesn't necessarily sound fun or healthy, but that's kind of Orgavin's point.