Another shot from the suggestion box… Cat Five’s madcap samplerama Kataphonics finally has a sibling, a new 12-inch called “On the Rise.” This may seem like a thin body of work for a five-year-old group. That is, until you discover the hours of original or heavily refurbished live tracks available on their site and realize what a fool you were for ever doubting them. These MP3s in particular were recorded directly from the mixing board and could easily pass for studio material. Cat Five are Avalanches on a budget; Negativland with a beat; whatever comparison you use when you find yourself nodding and smirking at the same time.
The sign of a good DJ: making you (the listener) wish you could play the drums. Real drums. Another sign of a good DJ: naming Amon Tobin and Luke Vibert as influences. DJN: a good DJ.
It’s fitting that Aquarius Records, the same store that introduced me to the mash-up some ten years ago (before they were called mash-ups) with Evolution Control Committee’s brilliant pairing of Public Enemy and Herb Alpert, would effectively wean me off that guilty pleasure with the next level noise of this here lad. Neither mash-up nor IDM, neither kitschy nor political, Donna Summer (a.k.a. Jason Forrest) throws juxtaposed refrains and riffs from popular music into a high-speed blender with no lid. Somehow the result, while initially as soothing as highway rumble strips, begins to make sense and even sounds catchy after a few listens…and a 12-pack of Mountain Dew. WARNING: Not recommended for those with epilepsy. (Seriously.)
Slightly nervous, very danceable synth pop that’ll remind you of early-’80s OMD one moment, as lead vocalist Joseph White blesses the mic, and modern-day German indie electro (Morr, City Centre, et al) the next, as co-founder Channing Sargent gets chirpy with it.
Adam Pierce once again takes the bedroom dweller aesthetic more as a spiritual guide than a sonic one: skittish percussion bounces off the walls like random thoughts and warm vibes and synthesizers fill the background while his ever-gentle acoustic guitar seemingly plays for an audience of one.
This is what drum ‘n’ bass should be. Yet another offering from Mr. Teenbeat himself, Mark Robinson. Nothing new to the viewers of CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360,” where “Floods” serves as the opening music. (Not to be confused with Flin Flon, the sixth largest city in the Canadian province of Manitoba.)
A taste of Rio served Manhattan supper-club style, Arto Lindsay’s sleepy vocals and seductive beats take David Byrne’s formula and run…er, saunter with it.
Distant vocals served over cool techno and coupled with solid funk basslines and snappy guitars bring an old-school (circa 1994?) vibe to today’s dancefloor.
Post-punk disco dub replete with bongos and sleigh bells. Nothing new about the concept, but the execution sure is fresh.
Bouncy, new wave stream-of-consciousness — as catchy as it is fleeting.