Many people believe the term "underground" doesn't really exist within music circles anymore. For the most part they are probably right. If you in anyway, A: trade your music, or B: publicise it, then how can you be truly underground? Ironically, the artists that associate the term with their music are likely to be using it as a faceless selling point.
Techno is a genre that has often been connected with the "underground" tag throughout its short history. The repetitive, cold and often aggressive nature of the music is enough to isolate the most resolute music lover. But the genre does have it exceptions. A rather notable exception is the French techno star Agoria, who not only took techno to the mainstream with debut album "Blossom" back in 2004, but also gained many admirers among the techno hierarchy. Despite following a much darker path with his latest offering, Agoria's 2nd album "The Green Armchair" still remains hugely accessible, and you would be a fool not to recognise that this record is not destined for similar success to the debut. Over-run with haunting textures, enthusiastic beats and featuring guest collaborators on no fewer than six of the eleven tracks the green armchair is suitable for both dancefloor and well... armchair listening.
In a rather eclectic album which displays a fantastic consistency throughout, the real highlights include the opener "Baboul Hair Cutting" which is a good example of contemporary R&B, albeit dismissing the black roots of the genre, the trip-hop influenced "Edenbridge" which grows in intensity and features David Bowie inspired vocals from Peter Murphy, and "Les Violins Ivres" which is driven by a booming kick drum, whilst beautiful synth textures bubble away amongst sorrowful strings.
The Green Armchair is undoubtedly one of the better electronic releases this year; even the few simplistic ideas shine through. Agoria's ability to take techno to the wider audience whilst still coming out smelling of roses really ought to be applauded.