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Storm the Studio R.M.X.S.

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Album Review

After Jack Dangers and his then-collaborator, Jonny Stephens, released the original Storm the Studio recording in 1989, its heavy, pounding mix of dub, hip-hip, and incipient techno impulses was an influence on many of the later trip-hop and drum'n'bass artists who emerged throughout the '90s. Dangers has remained active as producer, remixer, and artist, with a style that is consistently creative and wildly sampledelic, while moving back and forth along the intensity axis from chilled downtempo to aggressively industrial and all points in between. In short, Dangers is stylistically elusive, and it's perhaps appropriate that this tribute is a disparate but consistently entertaining collection of remixes that covers every nook and cranny of the techno/EM map (except perhaps for totally beatless ambience). As such, these 13 tracks will be collectively embraced by the adventurous, but might pose some problems for those who are concerned about flow and continuity — which is supplied to a certain extent by a combination of the basic hip-hop beats used on many of the original tracks and the sepulchral sampled voice of William Burroughs, speeded up, slowed down, juiced, tweaked, and fragmented, intoning "storm the studio" at some point on most of the CD's tracks. (Rather than being tedious or annoying, the ghostly presence of old Bill maintains its creepy charm throughout.) But Burroughs and basic beats aside, the full possibilities of techno are truly on display here. Mixes by DJ Spooky, DJ Swamp, Jonah Sharp, and Dangers himself all operate within general hardcore parameters, while offering enough touches to particularize themselves and maintain the listener's interest level.

However, mixes of "God O.D." by Eight Frozen Modulesand Norscq compete for top prize in the total disorientation sweepstakes (the former packs a whole CD's worth of manic weirdness into one five-minute track). And Twilight Circus Dub Sound System serves up a distinctive remix of "Storm the Dub," flashing a few funk moves before settling into a solid dub groove. Komet and Scanner display a light but propulsive touch on "Re-Animix" and "MBM Reanimator," respectively, disdaining the heavy hardcore beats of their brethren for some strangely compelling minimalist trance. The Mellowtrons' digitized mix of "God O.D." is clinical and Kraftwerkian, while the Opus mix of "I Got the Fear" runs to the other extreme, with agitated vocal samples and brooding minor chords right out of some Wes Craven nightmare vignette. Ranging furthest afield, perhaps, are the Merzbow mix of "God O.D." and the mix of "STS 2006" by High Priest-Antipop Consortium, both of which may cause the more rigid techno enthusiast to grind his teeth and/or reach for the forward button on the player. The "STS 2006" mix consists primarily of mysterious, loosely rhythmic "whooshing" sounds akin to fine sandpaper gliding on smooth wood, while Merzbow's long piece is an interesting synthesis of techno and his more typical noisescapes. Neither piece has any obvious connection with its source material, but Dangers has manufactured an entire career around similarly radical experimentation, so you can be sure that he's cool with it.


Formed: 1987 in London, England

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Beginning in 1987 as an experimental/industrial duo inspired by the cut-and-paste attitudes of hip-hop and dub, Meat Beat Manifesto increasingly became a vehicle for its frontman, Jack Dangers, to explore the emerging electronics of techno, trip-hop, and jungle. Though the group was initially pegged as an industrial act (simply appearing on Wax Trax! was enough to do the trick), its approach to studio recordings influenced many in the new electronica community during the 1990s, even while Dangers...
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Storm the Studio R.M.X.S., Meat Beat Manifesto
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