PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.

Music

DJ Garth: Revolutions in Sound

John Bergstrom

Dj Garth

Revolutions in Sound

Label: Grayhound Recordings
US Release Date: 2004-03-30
UK Release Date: Available as import
Amazon
iTunes

British ex-pat DJ Garth has long been a fixture on the San Francisco Bay Area scene, and he serves a tasty dish of four-to-the-floor deep house on Revolutions in Sound. If by the end of this hour-plus continuous mix you're not uncontrollably moved to close your eyes and shake your ass, you have surely been born without a sense of groove.

Groove is what it's all about for DJ Garth. He's not content to merely let a rhythm thump for seven or eight minutes; he sends it through effects, filters it, layers it, and generally makes sure it puts you in a different state of mind. About half the tracks here are Garth creations, many under the Rocket name he used for his now-defunct collaboration with Eric James. By showcasing so much of his own material, Garth isn't showing hubris. He's just giving you some of the best, most mind-blowing house music that's out there. And the other tracks he selects from his Grayhound label are only slightly less essential.

Stranger's "Figures on a Wall" kicks off Revolutions� on a fairly mellow, jazzy note. Yet even here there are spacey Star Trek-inspired whooshes, bleeps, and other sound effects that establish an eerie, almost menacing presence just beneath the mix, a presence that keeps the tracks from just slipping in and out of your mind. By the time Joshua Collins's "Never Let Go" kicks in with a two-note electro bassline, you're completely out of the friendly confines of Just Another DJ mix.

Revolutions� just keeps getting crazier and crazier as it goes along, adding layers of beats, percussion and dub -- then breaking them down and building them back up again. "I Know What You Mean" by Ambusher is a smooth but persuasive bit of disco, while Community Recordings' "Lifted Soul" gets heavy on the Latin and African percussion without messing around with "world music". Just as impressive as Garth's music and track selection is his ability to modulate the mood and tone of the mix. Even though he's dealing with some complex, tripped-out material, he always sounds completely in control behind the decks.

Nowhere is that more evident than during the four-song climax that begins with DJ Rasoul's hard and funky "Transitions". Next up is Revolutions' centerpiece, a new mix of Garth's classic "Twenty Minutes of Disco Glory". Other than lasting only about five minutes, the track completely lives up to its title. Built on a truly mean electro bassline, "Twenty Minutes�" manages to take everything that was great about '80s R&B and hip-hop, the Hi-NRG dance movement, and Space Invaders and distill it into an irresistible, unrelenting head-trip. Think Prince at his most experimental and danceable � on acid. Rocket's "Revolution" carries on in that psychedelic vein, with what sounds like a Light Saber battle taking place while some truly ill flute plays over the top. Garth's "Anthem #1" then proves that the man truly knows his secondhand record bins by nabbing the bassline from '80s cult eurodisco act Shreikback's "My Spine (Is the Bassline)".

Just as Garth has carefully worked things into this fever pitch, he gradually takes it back down over the album's final five tracks, not that he lets things get any less interesting. Audio Soul Project's "Gettin' tha Feeling" is about what Jimi Hendrix would have sounded like had he played synthesizer instead of guitar. Markie Mark & Garth's "The Price" ends things with that same sense of menace. The track is reminiscent of nothing so much as industrial boogie men Skinny Puppy, only with spoken-word vocalist Nkosazana taking the place of found samples.

Revolutions in Sound has plenty of floor-fillers to make it a hit at the club. But it's also house music for those who usually like to explore the more experimental realms of electronica. Garth sums it up best in his cheesy yet sincere liner notes, saying, "No easy answers but this we know for sure... above all else music has the power to connect people." Right on.

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Books

'A Peculiar Indifference' Takes on Violence in Black America

Pulitzer Prize finalist Elliott Currie's scrupulous investigation of the impacts of violence on Black Americans, A Peculiar Indifference, shows the damaging effect of widespread suffering and identifies an achievable solution.

Music

20 Songs From the 1990s That Time Forgot

Rather than listening to Spotify's latest playlist, give the tunes from this reminiscence of lost '90s singles a spin.

Film

Delightful 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' Is Good Escapism

Now streaming on Amazon Prime, Bharat Nalluri's 2008 romantic comedy, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, provides pleasant respite in these times of doom and gloom.

Film

The 10 Best Horror Movie Remakes

The horror genre has produced some remake junk. In the case of these ten treats, the update delivers something definitive.

Television

Flirting with Demons at Home, or, When TV Movies Were Evil

Just in time for Halloween, a new Blu-ray from Kino Lorber presents sparkling 2K digital restorations of TV movies that have been missing for decades: Fear No Evil (1969) and its sequel, Ritual of Evil (1970).

Music

Magick Mountain Are Having a Party But Is the Audience Invited?

Garage rockers Magick Mountain debut with Weird Feelings, an album big on fuzz but light on hooks.

Music

Aalok Bala Revels in Nature and Contradiction on EP 'Sacred Mirror'

Electronic musician Aalok Bala knows the night is not a simple mirror, "silver and exact"; it phases and echoes back, alive, sacred.

Music

Clipping Take a Stab at Horrorcore with the Fiery 'Visions of Bodies Being Burned'

Clipping's latest album, Visions of Bodies Being Burned, is a terrifying, razor-sharp sequel to their previous ode to the horror film genre.

Music

Call Super's New LP Is a Digital Biosphere of Insectoid and Otherworldly Sounds

Call Super's Every Mouth Teeth Missing is like its own digital biosphere, rife with the sounds of the forest and the sounds of the studio alike.

Music

Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.

Film

15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.

Music

Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.

Music

Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.

Music

Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.

Music

Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.

Film

The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.

Music

British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.

Film

Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.