Sat July 26
All it takes these days to make a splash in music-geek circles is a powerful computer, a large record collection, and a refined sense of the absurd. Mash-up specialist DJ Brokenwindow is one such paragon of this new paradigm. The resourceful Portland producer stitched together one of the scene's definitive artifacts with Parallel Universe #1 (on Violent Turd). He even reveals details--including pitch adjustments--to how he created each of the disc's 23 tracks "to show how easy it can be to collage pre-recorded popular music into something creative and entertaining." Sounds clinical, but Brokenwindow's bricolage always provokes giggles.
Dude has tons of time and skill on his hands and a perverse enough record collection to make ludicrous ideas sparkle. You want Dirty South rapper Que Bo Gold to spit over Dick Hyman's ancient Moog manipulations? Brokenwindow's your guy. Anyone who can make Boards of Canada's downtempo funk gem "Turquoise Hexagon Sun" flow smoothly with Jon Anderson's melodramatic vocal on Yes' "Leave It" deserves serious respect.
While some of Parallel Universe #1 teeters into the strained wackiness that occurs when stoned friends engage in what-if-we-mixed-these-crappy-songs sessions, it often underscores BW's deft merging of incongruous tracks from different eras into striking new compositions. Especially revelatory is his plopping of the Turtles' fluffy '60s hit "Elenore" onto Ectomorph's ominous 1995 electro jam "Malfunction."
By contrast, Necrocrab Re-sequencing Error (Toast & Jam) by Portland's Decapod Claw (Jesse James) harks back Warp and Rephlex's IDM-defining releases of the mid-'90s. In fact, the Rephlex label's cheeky coinage "braindance" applies in spades to Decapod Claw's elegantly spastic sound design; James has mastered the Aphex Twin-like paradox of melding speed-freak rhythms to morose melodies that stick in your noggin for hours. But DC is no one-trick producer: good ol' robotic funk appears throughout Necrocrab, too, and, for the ladies, he drops the ballad "Catharsis," which recalls electro-pop warhorses Fad Gadget and OMD.