Tuesday, February 24, 2004
The Grey Album (Self-released)
Taking ambitious advantage of the full-album remix craze started by 9th
Wonder's reworking of Nas' "God's Son" last year, producer/DJ Danger Mouse
(best known for last year's collaboration with Jemini, Ghetto Pop Life) takes on a pairing that can be admired on inventiveness alone: the Beatles' sprawling White Album backing the self-proclaimed King of New York's sayonara, The Black Album.
Despite the artists' obvious differences in time and place, Danger Mouse shows his cunning behind the boards here in their seeming compatibility. "99 Problems" gains an edge that even Rick Rubin can't touch thanks to the heavy interplay of "Helter Skelter" and the tracking of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" behind the boast-littered "What More Can I Say," lending a sense of melancholy to Jay's "farewell" letter to the game.
Mad scientist that he is, however, Danger Mouse comes up short on a few tracks. The apparent aim at Timbaland-biting on "Dirt Off Your Shoulder" jerkily pushes the Fab Four's "Julia" into oblivion, and a bizarrely baroque rendition of "Change Clothes" does nothing to quell the yawn-inducing original.
Danger Mouse doesn't fail here, but he doesn't succeed either -- spontaneous creativity gives this album a somewhat slapdash feel. One can't help but feel that there's a special place for this experiment in an answer on a distant episode of "Rock and Roll Jeopardy." I'll take 'Colorful' Albums for $800, Alex.
Breakfast for Beatlovers, 9-noon Tuesdays
"Corrupt Data" (Skam Records, Manchester)
It seems that the greatest albums simply come out of nowhere. Such is the case with "Corrupt Data," one of the finest hip-hop albums in a long time. The group consists of 3 unknown MCs -- Dream, Breaff, and Non (ranging in location from Los Angeles, Chicago, and Atlanta) -- and the production duo known in the IDM and underground electronic music scene as Funckarma. The production on the album is extremely electronic, no doubt, yet it somehow bridges the gap between commercial rap synthetics/drum patterns and the common underground boom-bap. The same can be said for the MCs, whose hardcore approach and delivery manage to strike a balance between the two oft-divided hip-hop worlds. Perhaps the most bizarre aspect of the project, though, is that it was assembled entirely over the internet -- a true testament to the evolution of music, as well as a marker for hip-hop's future.
Courtesy Flush, 6-7pm Fridays
"They Were Wrong, So we Drowned" (Mute)
I remember hearing this record last October at MUTE records listening party and I thought there was something wrong with the stereo. There wasn't anything wrong with the stereo except for having this disc in it. The album is a chaotic and dark concept record of mostly unlistenable tracks of layered noise and suffocating vocals that scrape across the skin. Many reviewers will surely ride on the Liars bandwagon and say that this is just difficult for the average listener. I would say the material is more frustrating and forced than just difficult. I highly recommend Xiu Xiu's latest record over this for your experimental needs.
New music rotation, 2-4am Fridays
"Leave Your Name" (Jade Tree)
After being in the band Desaparecidos with the likes of Connor Oberst (Bright Eyes), Denver Dalley has released some music of his own under the name Statistics. His first solo album, "Leave Your Name," comes across as a post rock plus emo plus sadcore attempt, without having any focal direction. The lyrics feel forced -- that is, on the six or seven songs on the album with lyrics. The rest is a mix of rock and ambient music that little more than noise/filler between songs. At its best, this is a decent debut.
Joel Thomas Kelly
New music rotation, noon-2 Saturdays