I must admit I was horrified when I first heard of "GhettoTech". Whilst I have no problem with filthy, horny, sexist lyrics as a rule, the thought that my beloved Detroit Techno, with it's utopian, symphonic, highly conceptualised aesthetic had finally been subverted by the 'jocks' was an awful thought. Which is probably why I've resisted hearing anything by The Detroit Grand Pubahs for so long. Big mistake. The new one, "Galactic Ass Creatures From Uranus" is a beauty. True, there's a fair amount of 'rumpy-pumpy' talk but there's also a surprising amount of scope here. Whilst the most pervasive approach is minimalist techno with lyrics like "Where my weed at? Where my hoe's at?" delivered by electronically pitched-up helium vocals, there's also the irresistibly phat R'n'B + social commentary of "God Imposters", the string-laden emotion of "Landing In Detroit" (like a downtempo take on Derrick May's "R-Theme") and the spooked-out sci-fi jazz funk of "Bite The Pillow Talk". The album's hilarious title and cover illustration gives a cheeky nod to the space travel obsessions of Detroit's odd-ball funk grandad George Clinton, but I get the impression that the first thing the Pubahs would do if they ever made it into space would be to find out what fucking in zero-G feels like. The whole album hangs together really well and delivered in such good humour that you can easily turn a blind eye to the more misogynist elements. Hardly tasteful, but certainly very tasty.
THE FUTURE SOUND OF DETROIT (2)
I downloaded Jimmy Edgar's "Access Rhythm" EP from Bleep.Com over the weekend. Fuck me! This kid is BRILLIANT! Kinda like Prefuse 73, but more minimal and spacious. Whilst Scott Heron blows me away with his constantly shifting complex arrangements, Jimmy's talent is to take the most basic elements (super-phat Hip-Hop beats with one or two samples) and make them sound endlessly absorbing as he juggles with the audio in such a masterly fashion. I can't stop playing it. A quick peek at his website reveals that, not only is Mr. Edgar an extremely talented individual, he's also a 19 year old with pin-up looks. Christ, I am so fucking jealous of this little bastard. This kid could potentially be the first genuine left-field electronic Megastar, if enough people get behind him. There's a full-length album due this summer. Not to be missed, methinks. Make a note on your Things To Do list: "Check out Jimmy Edgar, 'cos Gutterbreakz sez he's a muthafuckin' genius". Unless, of course, you already have....
THE FUTURE SOUND OF CORNWALL
Luke Vibert returns this month with yet another release, this time under his more familiar alias, Wagon Christ. The album is called "Sorry I Make You Lush", and it's superb, assuming you like your wide-screen trippy Avant Garde sampledelia coated in a honey-sweet melodic E-Z Listening layer of gorgeousness, that is. The trademark Wagon Christ sound has been augmented by big dollops of turn-of-the-'70s cheesy Moog synth exotica (think Dick Hyman, Walter Seer, JJ Perrey and countless 'Moogsploitation' albums), fully updated for the 21st Century of course, and (after his recent flirtations with Amen Junglism and Avant Disco revivalism) a strong quota of 'classic' oldskool Hip Hop breakbeats including, on the title track, the 'Apache' break. Oh, the audacity! If ever there was a museum dedicated to the evolution, sounds and grooves of Dance Culture, then surely Vibert would be in line for the curator's job. His hard drive must be choked full of classic samples, which he diligently exhumes, polishes and recycles with such unselfconscious glee that you can't help but smile as yet another dimly-remembered sonic artifact emerges from the constantly shifting flux. Of course, all this could be dismissed as train-spotting nostalgia if not for Vibert's highly imaginative arrangements. His ability to blend seemingly disparate genre's and era's into totally unified and unique new shapes is the key to his success, along with that indefinable 'feel-good' factor that, for me, makes this album my nomination for the Official Gutterbreakz Soundtrack To Summer 2004. But what's this? As the album draws to a close, the enraged/anguished voice of Charlton Heston rises out of the mix to cry: "Damn You! God damn you all to Hell!" (and I'm sure you don't need me to tell you where he got that sample from). It's rather out-of-character for Luke to end a record on such a sour note and, come to think of it, the curious album title could be perceived as a bit peevish too. So who's been pissing Vibert off? My guess is that he's had some problems with sample-clearance. Imagine some long-forgotten songwriter complaining about Luke's uncleared use of a sample from some obscure, crappy library record. Luke's response might be "sorry I make you (sound) lush, you ungrateful old git" . This is, of course, pure supposition and conjecture. I really don't have anything more worthwhile to think about.