Music

Damian Lazarus: Bugged Out Presents Suck My Deck

Tim O'Neil

So often, even the best efforts of top-name DJs can seem rote -- but Suck My Deck is at the very least interesting from the beginning to the very end.


Damian Lazarus

Bugged Out Presents Suck My Deck

Label: Resist
US Release Date: 2005-07-12
UK Release Date: 2005-06-06
Amazon affiliate
Amazon
iTunes

At its heart, electronic music still holds the DNA of some very weird ancestors. Way back in the day when Moog synthesizers were a novelty and sampling had to be done by hand (with magnetic tape!), those few, brave producers who dared to experiment with electronic techniques created some profoundly odd music. Remember the Silver Apples or Wendy Carlos? Hell, the Beatles' "Revolution #9" had enough bizarre to inspire generations of sonic terrorists all by its lonesome -- maybe the single most influential track in the Beatles' catalog, odd as it may seem.

A lot of electronic music seems to have forgotten how integral the weird used to be. Now that we're used to dance music, and even the more far-out IDM has been more or less accepted by the critical establishment, it has become increasingly rare to encounter anything that actually inspires the same strange shock as the early electronic music. This is especially true for folks like me who have to listen to copious amounts of the stuff as a matter of course. I don't want to plead pity -- God knows it still beats digging ditches -- but one of the worst parts of being a critic is the sensation of having seen and heard everything.

And then a disc like this comes around and makes it all worth while. Certainly, there's nothing too shockingly new here, but the amassing of such a concentrated variety of interesting and different tracks and juxtapositions makes this an oasis in a desert of repetitive dance mixes. So often, even the best efforts of top-name DJs can seem rote -- but Suck My Deck is at the very least interesting from the beginning to the very end.

Let's begin at the ending: this has to be the first time I can remember ever seeing The Stranglers used in a DJ mix. "Love 303" is a reggae-infected groove built on a lazy beat and a staggered bassline. It makes a perfect segue into the Superpitcher mix of M83's "Don't Save Us From The Flames", by way of a slightly dubby interlude. You may be wondering, incidentally, why Lazarus finishes him mix with the same track that Sasha used to conclude his recent Fundacion mix -- and the answer is that both discs hit the street within a week of each other. Unless you're one of those annoying purists who think that once a track has been used once it can never be used again, it's a perfectly reasonably coincidence. Great track, in any event.

The Stranglers are preceded by Holden's "Lump", which ramps down from the electro-infused Ewan Pearson mix of Alter Ego's "Beat the Bush" into a more stridently cerebral glitch sound, like Akufen without an obvious 4/4. Audio Peru come on like the world's most accomplished 60s garage band, welding a psychedelic rock sound into something that comes off focused like an acid house laser-pointer. Trentmoller's "Physical Friction" is the most typically microhouse track on the disc, which is hardly a bad thing considering that it's a sleek example of that sexy genre.

Freaks' "Tweakers" comes on like classic acid house with bits of Gene Krupa's DNA spliced into it, and ends some four minutes later with something more reminiscent of Remain in Light-era Talking Heads. The I:Cube mix of Phonique feat Alexander East's "99 & A Half" is one of the more bizarre tracks on the album, sounding for the life of me like a DFA production of Steve Reich's Drumming ensemble -- dig that crazy marimba, man.

The highlight of the first part of the disc is the absolutely phenomenal Ricardo Villalobos remix of Thomas Dolby's "One of Our Submarines" -- where the hell did this track come from? It's simply amazing, is what it is, welding Dolby's new wave melody and surprisingly emotive vocal to a shit-hot microhouse scaffolding. It sounds like astronauts from the future coming down from the sky to land on your roof. Finally, Break 3000 begin the mix with the cinematically odd "Flash 1", an exercise in odd syncopation that manages to summon the same kind of weirdly ominous vibe as the old Doctor Who theme -- a fine portent of the next hour-plus.

I've gotta give props to Lazarus for producing such an excellent disc. Simply on the basis of making me sit up in my chair and pay attention, this mix deserves high honors. The fact that most of the novelties on display here are also genuinely interesting examples of maverick musicianship only sweetens the deal. Most mix CDs have a regrettably short shelf life, but I have I feeling I'll want to come back to this one every now and again.

7

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

Keep reading... Show less

Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.

Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"

Keep reading... Show less

Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.

Keep reading... Show less
3

A 1996 classic, Shawn Colvin's album of mature pop is also one of best break-up albums, comparable lyrically and musically to Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

When pop-folksinger Shawn Colvin released A Few Small Repairs in 1996, the music world was ripe for an album of sharp, catchy songs by a female singer-songwriter. Lilith Fair, the tour for women in the music, would gross $16 million in 1997. Colvin would be a main stage artist in all three years of the tour, playing alongside Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, and many others. Strong female artists were not only making great music (when were they not?) but also having bold success. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill preceded Colvin's fourth recording by just 16 months.

Keep reading... Show less
9

Frank Miller locates our tragedy and warps it into his own brutal beauty.

In terms of continuity, the so-called promotion of this entry as Miller's “third" in the series is deceptively cryptic. Miller's mid-'80s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (or DKR) is a “Top 5 All-Time" graphic novel, if not easily “Top 3". His intertextual and metatextual themes resonated then as they do now, a reason this source material was “go to" for Christopher Nolan when he resurrected the franchise for Warner Bros. in the mid-00s. The sheer iconicity of DKR posits a seminal work in the artist's canon, which shares company with the likes of Sin City, 300, and an influential run on Daredevil, to name a few.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image