I’m going to start throwing dance parties whenever my shipment o’ CDs from PopMatters arrives. It’s difficult to gauge the effectiveness of a dance music compilation while sitting on your couch or fantasizing about shooting the asshole in the SUV during rush hour traffic. And what sounds like crap on your headphones can be a revelation on the dance floor. Take BT’s work, for example. I was less than enthralled after picking up a used copy of Movement in Still Life. However, I happened to catch him a month later at a New Year’s bash and, lo and behold, those cheesy trance tunes were pure magic when surrounded by 40,000 happy ravers. Of course, these DJ mixes are usually designed with dance-crazed E-babies in mind, not caffeine-wired white-collar stiffs plugged into their headphones at work. On the other hand, DJs know damn well that their CDs are going to be played in environments that more often than not are completely devoid of any dance action. And so, as an aforementioned white collar stiff, I feel justified enough in considering Dmitry’s release as a kick-back listening—rather than a dance—experience. Besides, when someone is given a DJ of the year award in Ibeza, I can hold him to whatever damn standard I please.
Supa DJ Dmitry is, as you may have guessed, that very same Dmitry from Dee-Lite, and Screams of Consciousness represents his work as a club DJ over the past few years since the dance outfit’s breakup. At its best moments, his debut mix compilation has that same loopy, funky spirit as Dee-Lite, coupled with stomping, high-energy techno and house beats. At its worst moments, of which there are few, it’s typical club music fare. There aren’t any truly bad or boring parts of the album, but there are tracks where your attention will drift until the album reclaims your attention with a more compelling song.
Sud & Jacques’ “Krishna” sets a funky, energetic tone for the album—a nine-minute epic with a world music influence and a ton of funky spirit. Not only is it a great start to the album, it characterizes the best in Dmitry’s selections: an eclectic sound, tons of energy and more than a smidge of funk. Other standout tracks include Josh Wink’s “Sixth Sense” (“I say there’s other ways of staying real high”) and Dmitry’s own “Don’t Talk Me Down” (I keep seeing things that aren’t really there / I keep hearing things that make me aware / It’s better up here than it is down there”), both of which do a nice job of capturing the psychedelic dance experience. Dmitry’s remix of “Space Oddity” (with Julee Cruise on vocals) reflects the wide array of influences on the album, and the vocal samples on 2 Bald Men’s “Acid Phonk” and Tony Rohr’s “Speakermaster” reflect Dmitry’s fun, and just a little goofy, spirit. In a nod to his Dee-Lite days, the album closes with a remix of “What is Love?” Other tracks on the album don’t stand out as much, but they all flow together very nicely, and should keep dance-nuts happily shaking their bon bons. Screams’ 18 tracks move so well, that you never find yourself wondering when it’s going to end (an unfortunate feeling I experience all too often on many a dance mix), and in fact, once it does reach its conclusion, you might just find yourself playing it all over again.
If nothing else, Screams of Consciousness can be appreciated as a funky and definitely danceable mix CD. However, it speaks to Dmitry’s skill that that the album can be enjoyed either while tripping your balls off at some rave, or just chilling out at home. Dmitry has retained that fun Dee-Lite spirit, and Screams provides a promising peek at his album of entirely original pieces that’s in the works.
// Notes from the Road
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