[29 November 2006]
Elefant Traks is one of the oldest and most respected hip-hop labels in Australia, started by members of the Herd, which has played a similarly influential role in fostering some of the more original Aussie-accented hip-hop coming out of the East Coast—of Australia, of course. The backbone of the label’s still the Herd, and so it’s no surprise that on Trampled, a spring remix album, is heavy on that group’s (and its members’) contributions: they account for seven tracks and seven remixes out of the 18 tracks. It’s a pity that, even with this contribution, the album doesn’t feel as much a cohesive whole as a convenient catch-all for a set of middling-to-good hip-hop and dub-influenced electronica. But there are some high points. Most consistently, Unkle Ho’s work is surprisingly high quality, varying from easy dub-influenced reggae with smoked-out female vocal (his remix of Hermitude’s “Music from the Mind”) to “The Show”‘s milked Eastern European, over-the-top Fagan vibe. Plutonic lab’s remix of Hermitude is really excellent instrumental hip-hop—even approaching RJD2 level—interesting and full of effect with a broken beat. And Traksewt’s remix of the TZU track “Recoil” serves the song well, an appropriation of Australia’s national anthem to outrage. But despite these highlights, the mix never really takes off. It’s admirable there’s a label dedicated to releasing the work of these artists; they just need a bit better of an editor.