The Phantom Tollbooth
Electronica '98
Artist: Audio X
Label: Rugged Records
Time: 10 Tracks/ 30:14

Audio X has carved out a unique niche in the Christian music scene by combining parts of sermons with various sub-genres of dance music. Electronica '98 is the second title released by the unnamed performers, the first being a decent ska album.  The second outing is reminiscent of a much earlier album, My King, by the Raving Lunatics in that My King uses full messages from the likes of Billy Graham and E.V. Hill with mostly rave-style music underneath. Though Electronica lacks the big-name talent  of My King, Audio X does a good job of placing the right music with the right message to bring a message of hope and salvation to the listener. It is surprising how well the unlikely combination of sermons and electric music works.  It makes one wonder if there is a possibility of an underground church-planting movement similar to the Sanctuary Church's, using dance music as its hook. The song "Dumptruck" is a particularly stirring example of this sort of musical experiment at work, as it utilizes a sermon by Pastor Steve Fatow, father of Knoxville rocker Deborah Fatow. The music and message flow together so nicely that I wondered if the music was playing in Pastor Fatow's church at the time he delivered the following message:

Some songs are just simple truths of God's word, rather than excerpts from sermons, like in "Pray Not Hate": "Pray for your enemies, Love your enemies, Pray for those who hate you, Love your brother."
I would suggest you take the time to listen to Electronica ?98 on your next visit to your local Christian bookstore if you are interested in something different from the norm or if you need a four-minute pick-me-up sermon.

By Sam Hagedorn (09/20/98)