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Goldfrapp: An Unlikely Celebration Of Humanity

At times, Goldfrapp seems to offer little more than a robotic approximation of human feeling -- a charge that would, on the surface, seem to be borne out by "Voicething." Closing out the U.K. electro duo's Head First, the song is a wordless update on Kraftwerk's lush futurism, built on nothing more than Will Gregory's keyboards and Alison Goldfrapp's vocals, each presented in layered multitudes. Goldfrapp's voice is itself chopped and looped so much, it practically rubs the listener's nose in its artificiality.

But "Voicething" turns out to be one of Goldfrapp's most organic moments, warmly enveloping rather than cool to the touch. The clipped swells at the start mimic respiration, and the steady pulse of the bass takes the place of a heartbeat, but soon comes the actual breath of Goldfrapp herself to elevate the song beyond a simple replication of a living thing. The song cruises along for nearly five minutes unencumbered by percussion, electronic or otherwise, but there's still a sense of rhythmic movement, not complex but still pushing forward. It turns "Voicething" into a celebration of Goldfrapp's humanity, rather than a denial of it.

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Marc Hirsh lives in the Boston area, where he indulges in the magic trinity of improv comedy, competitive adult four square and music journalism. He has won trophies for one of these, but refuses to say which.