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Goo

Elements

(Shadow)

Goo’s Elements comes on like a throwback to several bygone eras of breakbeat and updated hip-hop. Though released this year, Elements has much of the glow of the experimental hip-hop of Soleslides and MoWax, pushing the genre in disparate directions like forebears DJs Shadow, Krush and Cam (indeed, DJ Cam makes an appearance here). Though never as demanding or pushing as those titans, Goo crafts a worthy LP.


Goo, a successful Swiss based DJ (a DMC International finalist in 1997), expands well beyond the dual turntable and a mic formula; Elements refers to the amalgamation of hip-hop, soul, dub, blues and jazz. Elements begins awash in old skool scratches, kinky samples and the right jazz inflections—rangy horns and deep bass give the 90-second introduction the right posture. “Shot” moves into mystery film mode before curving back, courtesy of a straight funk hook, into fiery breakbeats. “Double Trouble” though sees Goo pull out all the stops, he reverts to straight turntablism with lightning fast scratches cutting through sampled vocals and catapulting into B-boy stutters and shifts.


Mid-record, Goo finds himself in a bit of a rut as “Sensei” and “BBMQ 2001” are glossy but completely uninspired, the jarring beats of before vanish leaving behind a texture that is far too intrepid to stimulate. So as one’s attention span starts to wane, Goo drafts DJ Cam for “The Greatest.” A looping tribute to Mohammed Ali, the track takes commentary from the 1964 Cassius Clay vs. Sonny Liston fight and blends it with a roping bassline, Ali’s “I am the greatest” proclamation, an unorthodox use of strings on a hip-hop record and an ambient undercurrent for a track that is stylish, haltingly and appropriately arrogant like its iconoclastic subject.


“Bomboclat Elements” lingers most uncertain, almost entirely dropping out of sight before pouncing with timely beats supported by lithe fusion. Jazz remains in the frame on “The OG” as rollicking drum rolls cascade over its brushed cymbals before descending into fantastic film noir-ish transitions. “Amour Bleu” has unusual strokes of both DJ Shadow (domineering beats) and Dimitri From Paris (a kitschy underpinning) and displays that Goo has a diverse enough palette to keep even the tracks on Elements which could have been the simplest and most forgettable from ever falling into staid environments.

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