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Private Moments

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Album Review

With the number of new samplists/turntablists appearing each year, one often gets the impression this "art" is the easy way out. Then, once in a while comes along someone like James Towning to remind us that plundering other people's records to build loops can be made into something more than your average hip-hop track. Private Moments, the man's second full-length release, is a rollercoaster of fast-action, break-beat driven, humor-soaked sampler techno. All tracks segue to create a non-stop album you can dance to (at least on half of the tracks) until you start listening to the components. Following the anti-copyright esthetic of Negativland and John Oswald, Realistic borrows material from every possible source: classic rock, disco, dance music, self-improvement records, TV soap operas, movies, commercials. Pat Boone is heard side by side with Peter Gabriel's "San Jacinto," Led Zeppelin's "All My Love" (that keyboard loop will puzzle you for a while before the solution comes to you), and the chimes from Intel's corporate tune. The last appears in "Trademark Massage," a hilarious collage of snippets from commercials. People who appreciate the funny bone of Stock, Hausen & Walkman will find Private Moments very enjoyable and more accessible. Some turns are a bit rough, but overall Towning demonstrates a knack for unconventional looping, sonic accumulation, and a good joke. The words "So, basically these are the techniques that I've used to gain what I've got and I'm sure, with a little bit of work, you can take them much further than I've taken them," spoken out of context in the last track "I Am What?," are almost self-explanatory — you just enjoyed an hour of unpretentious fun art. ~ François Couture, Rovi

Private Moments, James Towning
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