Uwe Schmidt runs sly and dry commentary on modern electro-dance-pop, recalling a ruder take on his seminal Pop Artificielle project with nods to Rian Treanor, PC Music and Grimes. Full of upfront, processed vocals and precision tuned, up-to-the-moment drum programming, ‘<3’ is the sharpest thing we’ve heard in years from the artist with more monikers than we can count. Following 2013’s ‘HD’ album for Raster, he recalibrates the rhythmic mechanics from techno to a slick mix of electro, EBM and electro-pop that strongly recalls his seminal Lassigue Bendthaus productions, but with puckish vocals that possibly side-eye PC Music and mega pop from Grimes or Charli XCX. Neatly encircled by two parts of icy gynoid vox and hyperventilating pulses in ‘0-9 (Almost A Unit)’, the album’s charmingly blithe and cutting vocals intersect hi-tech filter gauntlets and needling footwork patterns in ‘Hashtag’ and the droll but hyper daftness of ‘Tech Talk’, whereas ’Simplicity’ could almost be an Art of Noise oddity, and the brilliant ‘R3V’ looks to a more utopian future with classic but fast-FWD electro-pop suss and a footworking update of the nano-scopic EBM programming Schmidt once defined in the late ‘80s. Factor in what sounds like an IDM origami remix of Grimes in ‘Time 2 Kill’, and ‘<3’ is properly an album for the times, from someone who’s seen trends come and go but always holds his own.