November 11, 2004

DFA Compilation #2

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Balls. Testicles. Kohones. Whatever you call them, the producing duo of Tim Goldsworthy and James Murphy, aka DFA (Death From Above), definitely has several pairs. Having turned down the likes of Britney Spears, Janet Jackson and Duran Duran, DFA has stayed true to its ambiguous music style in a fickle industry.

Dance-rock, white-boy funk, house hybrid, punk-funk, electro-disco, disco-punk, neo-electro, all are names of a genre of which you’ve probably never heard, a genre whose New York City roots immediately garnered a large following after DFA’s 2003 release of Compilation #1, but whose chic-ness came and went in a New York minute.

That isn’t to say the DFA is down for the count and gasping for air yet. At three discs and over twenty non-album songs, most of which were previously released singles on 12″ vinyls since last year’s release of Compilation #1, there is absolutely no shortage of material. While the compilation’s first two CDs include tracks from DFA Record’s roster of artists, CD3 is an exclusive collection of remixes courtesy of Tim Goldsworthy.

In one of the best opening CD tracks of 2004 so far, DFA Compilation #2 kicks off with “Casual Friday” by Black Leotard Front. Despite, lasting a full fifteen minutes, the single enthralls the listener for the entire track, starting with the trio chanting “Bonjour, bonjour, bonjour, comment allez-vous?” It ends with a solo “You have passed the test,” well placed after a 15-minute endurance trial, but the perfect introduction to the rest of the CD. The second track features DFA’s newest addition to its ranks, J.O.Y., a Japanese duo whose vocals sound eerily like Bjork, but only after being kicked in the face several times. But instead of listening to the DFA remix of “Sunplus,” find the original and superior version on CD 2. There’s another ten-minute marathon, “Yeah (Crass version)” by LCD Soundsystem, which features a hypnotic yet catchy chant of, big shocker, “Yeah,” so easy to sing along to that even Ashley Simpson can’t fuck it up. Although several tracks features three different versions across the three CDs, each version sounds completely different and represents separate listening experiences.

Although most of these songs are from the punk-funk genre, the compilation isn’t immune to a few misses. The inclusion of the beatless and hookless “El Monte” is slightly perplexing while “Wastered” is an unsteady mix of edgy and biting electronica, well done in its own right, but causes a mixing of genres either brilliantly orchestrated or absurdly slapped together.

“Stones” is the most appropriate term to use to describe DFA. Although the punk/funk/disco genre may have risen to heights too close to the sun, DFA and its music have and will remain solid in the music scene.

Archived article by Ed Kim
Sun Staff Writer