Ah, the rush of hearing something so outta left field, and out of step with the progression of musical trends is something we all seek. And these days music, no matter how marginal, finds easy avenues of access, which only stokes you up to be thirsty for more, more, more. DFA remixes of African bands who build their own instruments? Yeah, yeah. Church choir of kids doing Radiohead songs? Whatever! But a recent on-air session I had with noiseniks To Live and Shave In LA led me down the path to discovery when band members Tom Smith and Andrew WK excitedly relayed tales of going bonkers after one of their shows in Baltimore. It seems the in-house DJ piled on sets of total Attention Defecit Disorder craziness that locked in on almost randomly selected passages (or pronounced hooks) that pounded with Gabber-like intensity ad infinitum. I wanted to hear it, but I already knew Tom's tolerance for Gabber was way over mine.
Finally getting my hands on the DJ Technics' comp and a slab of 12" singles put out by Balto's Clubtrax Record Store, I can fully agree that this is officially the shit, and it has been on my in-transit headphones nonstop for days, freezing phrases like "lookin' for the hoody-hood rat" in my cranium to the point of complete obsession. Baltimore Tracks, or "Doo Dew" as it's sometimes called, is totally raw and lo-tech. The straightforward beats at high-but-not-overpowering BPMs and the samples accompanying them will at first hit you as ridiculously overused, even obvious (sometimes way-familiar soul classic bits like the "baby baby" from "Where Did Our Love Go"), but by the third minute of the stuck groove of Johnny Blaze's looplock of kids screaming the Spongebob Squarepants theme I was totally had, for the entire duration of the mix CD. As long as I was moving that is; the second I came home and put it back on it didn't work and quickly drove my missus up the wall. Understandably.
After a long day of work, the last thing she needs to hear is house music thumping with Debonair Samir's loop of South Park's "Unclefucker" song.
Aside from the immediacy of the mix, the ad nauseum phrase repetition is the real punk rock element to this. The DJ has a loop and sure as hell is gonna use it to drive you nuts. Or at least to a lost-mind state on the dancefloor, though the sheer ridiculousness of people all losing their minds to "Unclefucker" rather than your usual sample is totally befuddling. I would give anything to be on a balcony watching a crowd during this moment. But not to discount the music: it is crafted amazingly to add progression to what could just be an otherwise stuck track. The use of noise is as spine-tingling as the first time you heard PE drop it into their old records, and when the mix isn't quite flowing, a big, distorto voice comes on and yells DJ Technics' name to sew the divide almost to cover up the fact that the transition has to happen. One track dispenses with the drums track altogether and replaces it with gunshots (with a leftover beat in the measure devoted to recocking!) and works pretty damn amazingly.
I'll just tie it up by saying it's not for casuals ears, and it may not be the future of dance music, but it
sure as hell is a formula that is truly a warped concoction. I dunno what the IDM listoids have to say about it, either, I am sure there is a lot of overintellectualizing going on somewhere. I did read an article called "The new Dylan" which was a hilarious thing to say, and even makes sense. It's something
way out of left field for sure, and it's genius.