Robert Hazard is an ex-folkie from Philadelphia who, like many other artists nowadays, has found the contemporary dance sound to his liking. His five-song mini- album, "Robert Hazard," presents a slick and somewhat antiseptic distillation of his sound -- lush synthesizer settings, chanted choruses, booming disco beats and ironic lyrics -- without establishing any identity for Hazard himself.
Hazard has scored a minor hit with "Escalator of Life," a song whose commercial virtue lies in the endless repetition of a synthesizer riff and the profound chorus, "We're riding on the escalator of life."
His music does display more than a fair share of lyrical, melodic and structural inge- nuity. But much like his affected British vocal style, it's all been done before and more originally.
The one successful cut here is "Hang Around With You," which is dominated by a nasty guitar figure and Hazard's snotty Dylanesque vocals, perhaps harkening back to his folkie days. His preposterously overblown arrangement of Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind," however, argues against encouraging this artist to pursue any further rapprochement between folk music and the electronic dance sound. ON RECORD, ON STAGE THE ALBUM ROBERT HAZARD -- Robert Hazard (RCA MXL1- 8500). THE SHOW ROBERT HAZARD, Friday at 9 at the Wax Museum.