March 2, 2006

The Soul of Electronica

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Santa Cruz, Calif. based Sound Tribe Sector 9 (STS9) has done it again with their latest full length remix album, Artifact:Perspectives. This album is so funky you’ll start grooving when you hear the first bass beat. In fact, this article almost didn’t get written on time to get printed because the album went onto repeat while I kept dancing.

“Better Day Remix (Sub-id)” has a beat as heavy as water balloons filled with wet cement being lobbed by polyrhythmic catapults while beautiful sirens in the background keep the melody flowing. Only a new subwoofer would improve the first track’s enchanting hook.

“Tokyo Remix (Machinedrum)” comes at you with a rhythm so complex you’ll think you’re under attack by an invading fleet of robot controlled drum machines. Don’t try to understand these snaps and pops too much or you might overload you’re brains music-processing unit, although at times STS9 seems to project their trance even through a stereo.

When you hear the rhymes on this album, you’ll forget about your Top-100 rappers. “Possibilities Remix (Collective Efforts)” shows how well poetic lyrics can flow in and out of an sophisticated base line, all while drums keep the jazz beats streaming.

“By the Morning Sun Remix (Slicker)” is just as danceable as any other track, but manages to keep the feeling slightly cooler, and laid-back. This slow but not slow feeling clears the way for pulsing end-of-song funk-down.

Don’t be fooled by the track names: even though titles repeat, if it weren’t for the names, you’d have a hard time telling which mixes were from the same original. “By the Morning Sun Remix (Metrognome)” jams out on a Far East-sounding super melodic pentatonic riff. Serenity and complexity somehow combine here to deliver a soothing, fascinating unity, like a light rain pattering on the roof of a tin shed. “Tokyo Shinjuku Flashback Mix (Bill Laswell)” is a thoroughly intricate jazz-funk-tronic creation. This baseline your run of the mill, pop-inspired three-note affair, it’s an evolving jazz backbone which keeps your ears interested and your feet moving.

Artifact:Perspectives makes electronic music interesting again in its funked-out driving remix of jazz laid on top of hip-hop on top of music which escapes genre. I hope I hear any track on this album next time I’m in a club.

Check out the Sound Tribe on tour soon, in Albany on April 30 and Buffalo on May 3.

Archived article by Brad Lipovsky