The Return of Q

The techno artist has a new label, a new album and the same old subatomic attention to detail in every measure

However, after the release of the EP Brain Dust, Q began to suspect that people might be getting the wrong idea about his music. So he printed this message on the sleeve of Space Cadet: "Überzone is an anti-drug advocate and does not condone or support use of illegal drugs." (Later, concluding that legal drugs like alcohol did more damage than pot or Ecstasy, he added this note to Faith In the Future: "Überzone supports an anti-drug lifestyle.")

Despite his solid Protestant work ethic, by 1999, Q was no closer to a full-length release. He was bogged down in procrastination, and City of Angels was fighting a breach-of-contract suit filed by its top act, the Crystal Method, who eventually walked.

That's when Astralwerks official Todd Roberts offered Überzone a contract. "I had stuck around the label for a long time and demonstrated all the loyalty I could," said Q, who believed City of Angels lacked the means to support a full-length album. After excruciating negotiations with City of Angels, Q won his freedom. (City of Angels did not return calls for this article.)

Will Überzone's long absence from the airwaves hurt Faith In the Future? Not likely, says electronica A&R guy Andrew Jervis. "There have been no superstars hogging the spotlight," said Jervis, vice president for Newport Beach-based indie label Ubiquity. "So I don't think there's too much of a problem if the record's good."

Q's taking all the right steps to reconnect with his old fans, embarking on the Seven Day Tweekend national tour with his buddies the Crystal Method, still one of the few techno acts to get prime-time play on top-rated KROQ. Astralwerks has promised to flex its marketing muscle.

Faith is an album wrapped in a contradiction. Although produced with machines complex enough to require a degree, Q seeks to communicate youthful simplicity.

"I want to present a wide-eyed, childlike view of the world," Q says, "the innocent me when I was a kid, the wonder, the excitement and the looking forward to all the new things coming up."

Überzone performs with the Crystal Method at the Sun Theatre, 2200 E. Katella Ave., Anaheim, (714) 712-2700; Wed., 8 p.m. $35. All ages.
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