Few putative fads fizzled faster than the great electronica scam of ’97. If you believed the hype — and there was tons of it — you’d have thought that come the millennium, the world would be one big, nonstop rave. As everybody knows, that didn’t happen (we got teen pop and rap rock instead). But electronic dance music is still with us, albeit on a smaller scale than originally envisioned. You can find some of the better examples of the genre on the soundtrack of Tomb Raider, which includes new contributions from Nine Inch Nails (”Deep”), Moby (”Ain’t Never Learned”), Chemical Brothers (”Galaxy Bounce”), and Basement Jaxx (”Where’s Your Head At?”), along with a previously released track from OutKast (”Speedballin”’) and a remix of U2’s ”Elevation.”
Somehow, these artists have managed to transcend the facelessness that is the curse of so much machine generated music, stamping their songs with distinctive sonic flourishes and left field hooks. The album isn’t likely to convert nonbelievers — like videogames, you either have a taste for this stuff or you don’t. But if you’re into electronica — or whatever they’re calling it these days — well, as some guy in Fat Boy Slim’s track, ”Illuminati,” says, ”Illuminati. A secret society do exist.” Welcome to the club.