AM & SHAWN LEE
“La Musique Numerique”
Kindred spirits: Chic, Liquid Liquid, Kraftwerk
Show: With Deleted Scenes on Tuesday at U Street Music Hall. Doors open at 7 p.m. 202-588-1880. www.ustreetmusichall.com. $20.
The second transatlantic collaboration between singer-songwriter AM and producer Shawn Lee, “La Musique Numerique,” is a musical shift from its predecessor, “Celestial Electric.” The new set is more aggressive and electronic, and less indebted to Brazil’s Tropicalia and — despite the French title — Gallic cafe music. Yet the duo’s easygoing retro temperament has barely changed.
“La Musique Numerique” is the French term for “digital music,” and the album opens with a flurry of synthesized thwacks and bleeps. But AM and Lee’s idea of dance music derives from the artier varieties of late-’70s disco, not starker recent modes. The L.A. singer-songwriter, who creates finished songs over the Londoner’s rhythm tracks, doesn’t neglect melody or cohesion. Both musicians enjoy dabbling in random styles, as they demonstrate with the raga-tinged “Automatic” and dub-rooted “Come Back to Me.” Although the two work separately, they always manage to fully blend the disparate ingredients.