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Zero dB, Reconstruction (Ubiquity)
Following in the very large footsteps of nu jazz remix masters Jazzanova, Zero dB's Chris Vogado and Neil Combstock specialize in taking already big, messy Latin electronica tracks and making them even bigger and messier, with lots of additional percussion, tweaky synths, and basslines pushed so far up in the mix it feels like the strings are slapping you in the face. Reconstruction, a collection of eight of their best-known remix joints plus two new re-rubs, reveals their consistent love of post-production clutter and its attendant advantages and drawbacks. At their best, Zero dB infuse already fun tracks with a loopy, manic energy that makes for great party music -- witness their deliriously bouncy versions of Grupo Batuque's "E Ruim" and Interfearance's "Xtradition". At their worst, they slash and bludgeon good source material until it lies there bleeding and gasping for breath, a fate suffered by both Truby Trio's "Galicia" and Suba's excellent "Samba do Gringo" thanks to an overabundance of annoying loops and cookie-cutter synth lines. They do a lot better with the more laid-back vibe of Peace Orchestra's "Henry", on which their loops and edits are less obtrusively choppy. And they at least score some serious originality points for remixing an obscure Sun Ra track called "Satellites Are Spinning", even if the results aren't something you'd ever want to listen to more than once.