Monday, January 22, 2007

Pompous Posies, Your Party's No Fun.


This week is going to be the week of the mixtape, seeing as I've neglected to put one together for a while. So what I've done is I've knocked out four-count 'em-new mixtapes for your home listening pleasure. Or if you want to listen to them on the bus, that's okay too. As I said, I haven't done one in a while (I think the last one was in November), so these four are going to be all the wheat and none of the chaff from all the stuff that's crossed my path in the intervening period. Hope you're all licking your lips in anticipation.

I couldn't be arsed to go through all this week's single releases to be quite frank. There are good newies out from The Shins ('Phantom Limb') and Klaxons ('Golden Skans') and there's also a pretty natty Animal Collective EP out today by the name of 'People'. Elsewhere, the Booji Boy High single should become a much sought after release once people figure out that it's actually Hot Chip in disguise and the Chas Jankel (of Blockheads fame) collab with Steve Kotey (Akwaaba, Piston Fiston, Lordy, Chicken Lips) on a cover of Giorgio Moroder's 'Sooner Or Later' has left me a bit gutted that I'm skint until Friday, because you know that that's just going to rule. The rest of today's singles run the gamut from passable to dross so I'd just be going through the motions listing them. Anyhoo, here's the pick of that mixed bunch...

Karma - Beach Towel/Carte Blanche Remixes (Compost)

Yet another superb 12" on Compost, this time in the shape of more remixes of German duo, Karma. The Pascal Schaffer mix of 'Carte Blanche' on the flip is all very nice in a tech-y kind of way, but the tune that will have you shelling out the five, six, seven quid or whatever, is I:Cube's slowed-down disco take on 'Beach Towel' that's all dubbed-out keys and tasty bass work, with a langourous, unhurried beat. Well worth the money.

Get it at Piccadilly.

I'll have to cry ignorance on Busdriver's back catalogue. I knew next to nothing about the guy who some claim to be the best undie hip-hopper around until quite recently and I'm still not sure if I've got a handle on the guy. One thing I do know, however, is that his new album, his first for his new label, Anti/Epitaph, RoadKillOvercoat is an absolute blinder that hasn't been too far from my CD player in the past month or so.

Busdriver's flow is slippery to say the least and is way too hyper-kinetic to completely 'get' even after umpteen listens. In fact, the best chance you have of even beginning to understand what most of the tracks here are about is by picking out words, phrases and sentence fragments and forming your own idea. This lyrical join-the-dots, whilst sometimes a little on the maddening side, is what makes RoadKillOvercoat such an addictive listen, because even though you can't always parse it, you know that you want to try to piece together the patchwork of paranoia, satire, inventively violent imagery (though never exploitative, some of Bus' lyrics have a visceral edge that's used more for metaphor than for cheap thrills) and cultural references both high and low.

As with most modern-day underground hip-hop, Busdriver's lyrics tend towards the doomy and are often uncompromising, but any pre-conceptions of navel-gazing are batted back by the technicolour futurism of the production, courtesy of Nobody and Boom Bip. This leads to tracks like 'Kill Your Employer (Recreational Paranoia Is The Sport Of Now)', where Bus rails against the misguided, liberal guilt-wracked American left and their hollow anti-war tubthumping, all too keen to be seen to be doing their bit, but too scared to really take action. That this dizzying, marvellously cogent and humourous torrent of ire is backed by a bumping club beat that would get the most blinged-up punter moving makes it all the more invigorating.

Out of the two producers, Boom Bip takes the laurels by a nose, mainly for the head-spinningly great electro-new wave of 'Sun Shower'. With a bassline that could pass for a Peter Hook original and a skippy, programmed, early-Human League drumbeat, it could almost be a radio hit. Bus' flow is slowed down to a relative crawl, but is occasionally so compressed that it's still hard to understand, but there's no mistaking that this is a resigned, ever-so-slightly bitter tirade against the indies who have succeeded and left him behind. It's almost saddening to hear him note that "There's a place for you, not no place for me" and "Return to the bourgeoisie while I sift through debris" in the chorus.

Hopefully though with this wonderfully complex yet accessible minor masterpiece, Busdriver won't be languishing in the underground for much longer as he manages to bridge the gap between cLOUDDEAD and Pharoahe Monch by being both savagely intelligent and welcoming. Get on board.

Busdriver - Casting Agents And Cowgirls (mp3)


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