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Speaker Stack Commandments

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Album Review

With fewer interesting (and thus satire-worthy) developments in the dance world circa 2004, Earl Zinger's sophomore album risked succumbing to a terrible fate — irrelevance. In fact, Speaker Stack Commandments arrived at a time when it seemed the music industry as a whole had little material for parody excepting only its possible disappearance from the face of the earth. Granted, his uproarious debut did benefit from not only an eminently mockable scene but excellent productions and the superb performances of Mr. Zinger. Still, it smacked of a one-off, something that couldn't be duplicated — or at least not with such an irresistible flair as before. Unfortunately, there's no easy answers on this record; it's not a tragedy, but it's hardly a clear triumph. Rob Gallagher, the figure behind Zinger's barbs, shows he has a few ideas left in the kit bag, and the lighthearted atmosphere allows producer extraordinaire Simon Richmond (aka Palm Skin Productions) an enviable amount of musical freedom (a mélange of digital-obsessed rap and dancehall). Nonetheless, Zinger hits the mark far less often, and with few discernible targets, the record can't help but sink. (The presence of a song that mentions the first album's title casts a few doubts on the age of this material, and the fact that that song and three others — two of which are highlights — were recorded at the same studio, lends further credence to the belief that this is an odds-and-sods record.) "Who Killed Saturday Night" is one of those highlights, a club song that swings smooth and low while Zinger plays the club schmooze. "Best Session Ever" is mildly thrilling, a rewrite of LCD Soundsystem's "Losing My Edge" that plays up arrogant but clueless recording stars.


Born: 1966 in England

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '00s

Electronica artist Earl Zinger is actually none other than Rob Gallagher, who formerly led the Talkin' Loud label's acid jazz band Galliano. Zinger owns a well-crafted and impressive resumé. Unfortunately, it is highly fictional. It boasts of his associations with Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, and other luminaries, while touting his influence over such musical artists as Bob Marley and Bob Dylan. Put Your Phazers on Stun and Throw Your Health Food Skyward, issued by K/7 in 2002,...
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Speaker Stack Commandments, Earl Zinger
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