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April 11, 2000 - Image 9

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-04-11

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9 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, April 11, 2000

DJ Dijital spins
'pure Detroit
tecno Prototype'

Plug assembles 'Lunchbox' of sounds

Don't expect to find a better
collection of the Detroit-based
label Direct Beat's style of elec-
tro-influenced techno.
DJ Dijital goes through a total
of 44 tracks for his mix, dropping
tracks at a ridiculous pace. Almost

Grade: B+

DJ Dijita
Techno Bass 2:
The Prototype Mix
Direct Beat
Reviewed by
Daily Arts Writer
Jason Birchmeier

on par with
Jeff Mills' leg-
endary "Live
at the Liquid
Room" album
in terms of
sheer technical
proficiency
and accelera-
tion, Dijital
accomplishes
what very few
DJs are capa-
ble of.

primarily the work of Direct Beat
artists so that each of the tracks
retains a certain sound and feel
that prevents obvious juxtaposi-
tion.
Furthermore, "Techno, Bass 2"
functions as an amazing testament
to the production talents of Tom
Hamilton. Best known for his work
as AUX 88, Hamilton writes over
half of the 44 tracks Dijital uses
for his mix.
Hamilton's tracks look back to
the pioneering electro of producers
such as Afrika Bambatta and Juan
Atkins for influence.
Using booming bass beats and
an uptempo hip-hop aesthetic,
Hamilton and the other producers
on the album create a funkier,
more dance-friendly version of
techno that should appeal to hip-
hop listeners as well as those with
a taste for techno.
In the end, the album's relentless
propulsion makes it a bit too '
intense for average listening, mean-
ing, of course, that "Techno Bass 2"
effectively attains it's goal of mak-
ing your adrenaline flow.

M
Breaking Rtecordls
Grading System
A: Excellent
D: Poor
8: !Vry Good
F: Total evil
C: Fair

The California-based label Plug
Research has developed a reputation
for putting out some of the most
experimental and challenging hybrid
styles of electronic music in the
world. On their new compilation,
"Voices in My Lunchbox," they stay
true to their image. The concept of
the 13 tracks on this album involves a
creative use of vocals in a style of
music more characterized by com-
puters than humanity.
For this project, Plug Research
assembled some of the world's most
recognized producers of experimen-
tal electronic music such as
Ectomorph, Pole, Kit Clayton and
John Tejada. What is most interesting
about this album is how each of the
many producers uses vocals in a

totally unique way. Some producers
such as Pole use undecipherable
vocals in alien languages while oth-
ers such as Herbert take the more tra-
ditional route.

Grade: B-
Various Artists
Voices in My
Lunchbox
Plug Research
Reviewed by
Daily Arts Writer
Jason Birchmeier

There is one
main problem
with the album,
though. While it is
rather intriguing
to hear the pro-
ducers trying to be
as creative as pos-
sible, sometimes
their creativity
just goes too far.
Songs such as
Phoeneeia 's

"Pounani" are mind blowing in terms
of construction but are not the type

of songs one can truly enjoy in terms.
of rhythm or mpelody. In other words,
though rich in concept, many of these
songs simply are not that pleasing to
the ear.
In sum, listeners interested in ideas
and different approaches to produc1
ing music will marvel at the many
creative uses of vocals on his album.
Those looking for funky or melodic
sounds should probably stay away.
This is not accessible music for the
most part. Yet there is a fine line
between music ideas and aesthetics
that a few of the featured producers
get right. Herbert, John Tejada, Black
Fiction, Perspects and Pole's songs
all sound great while also being cre-
ative, but many of the other artists
are not quite as successful.

'Heavy' hitters combine forces

In an age where DJs are better
known for their track selection
than their skills, Dijital proves
that superb mixing skills can ele-
vate a quality set to unparalleled
heights.
While most DJs let their tracks
play out for several minutes, good
techno DJs such as Dijital and
Mills mix their records at such a
ferocious pace that they take the
records to another level, shaping
their sound in new ways.
Throughout "Techno Bass 2,"
Dijital will often use a particular
track simply as a transition piece
or will let a track play for under a
minute to establish a specific
mood before quickly changing to
another sound.
One may assume that such mix-
ing would give the album a very
disjointed feel, but Dijital over-
comes this problem by dropping

Take equal parts sex and violence. Add brand new
music from more than a dozen prominent heavy
metal bands and a few old favorites. Now animate.
What you have are the ingredients for a film guaran-
teed to cause an uproar among parents, with a leg-
endary soundtrack thrown in for good measure. This

formula succeeded

Grade: A

Heavy Metal
2000 Soundtrack
Restless
Reviewed by
Daily Arts Writer
David Reamer

with the release of the cult
favorite "Heavy Metal" in 1981,
and a new group of producers
are hoping that the blueprint
will work once again in the
sequel, "Heavy Metal 2000."
Among the premier artists
contributing to "Heavy Metal
2000" are Monster Magnet,
Coal Chamber, Pantera and
Days of the New, just to name a
few. Each of the eighteen artists
on the album offer one track

MDFMK (formerly KMFDM), many different sub-
genres of music are explored. No particular style is
given precedence over another, making for a well-
rounded sampling of what the current metal scene has
to offer.
The older artists on the roster provide some of the
album's best music. Monster Magnet's "Silver
Future," the album's first single, is the band's best
work in years. Pantera's offering, "Immortally
Insane," is easily on par with their recently released
(and critically acclaimed) full-length album.
MDFMK's "Missing Time" is a hypnotic combina-
tion of synthesized dance beats, electric guitars and
ominous lyrics that perfectly represents the atmos-
phere of the film, which will hit theaters this summer.
One of the album's most pleasant surprises is
"Buried Alive," a brand new track from eighties rock-
er Billy Idol. Idol, who also stars in the movie, shouts
and growls his way through his first recording in
nearly a decade with impressive results. The longest
period of inactivity broken by the album, however,
belongs to Bauhaus, whose "The Dog's a Vapour" is
their first recording in seventeen years.
The younger artists on the album also pack a seri-
ous punch. Puya, Full Devil Jacket and Machine
Head each supply tracks worthy of the name "Heavy
Metal," and Days of the New lend their trademark

that has never before been available to the public,
whether it be a new recording or simply a song that
was not released as part of a studio album.
"Heavy Metal 2000" offers a wide variety of
sounds that can all be classified under the larger
heading of heavy metal. From the pounding drums
and guitars of Machine Head to the hip-hop influ-
enced vocals of ICP to the electronic beats of

acoustic guitars to a harsh, angst ridden tune in
"Rough Day" Bands like Zilch, Sinisstar and Hate
Dept., who will probably be unfamiliar to most lis
teners, fill out the soundtrack with solid tracks that
underscore the album's heavy hitters. --
While "Heavy Metal 2000" will not be the surpriser
hit that its predecessor was, it certainly has the mak
ings of a classic soundtrack. With new blood compli-
menting established acts, the album appeals to both:a
large audience and specific groups of fans. Linear
notes full of standard "Heavy Metal" artwork and
eighteen tracks of exclusive music don't hurt, either

Hanson boys to leave bubblegum under the desk

Los Angeles Times
Hanson is a real boy band - and if
that sounds like an insult, then you're
starting to understand the challenge
facing the pop trio as it mounts a
eback from "Middle of Nowhere."
7n1997, the three Hanson brothers
from Oklahoma were at the forefront
of a wave of youth pop that reshaped
the music industry. Their debut
album, "Middle of Nowhere," and its
deliriously catchy hit, "MMMBop,"
paved the way for the Backstreet
Boys, 'N Sync, 98 Degrees and all
the other cute guy acts that have
since pounced on .the free-spending
teen market.
ut the mega-selling groups that
fIlowed Hanson are pinups of a dif-
ferent stripe and in 2000 youth pop is
defined by slick harmonies and
flashy choreography. The music is
layered dance-pop and the concerts
and music videos are about as aus-
tere as a James Bond film. The
Backstreeters and 'N Sync are called
"boy bands," but they don't play
intruments and they rarely write
t r songs.
And Hanson? Their upcoming
album on Island/Def Jam, "This
Time Around," is rock-leaning pop,
with their trademark sugary vocals
leavened by a healthy dose of guitars.
They don't dance on stage because
they're busy playing instruments.
And instead of enlisting a platoon of

Swedish producers and writers, these
guys huddle around the house and
pen their own lyrics. They also co-
produced the new album.
The question is whether those dif-
ferences are a strength for Hanson or
simply a recipe for becoming the pop
world's youngest antiques.
"Things are dramatically different;
(it's) changed a lot in the past three
years," says oldest brother Isaac
Hanson, a music industry veteran at
the ripe old age of 19. "We don't
know what to expect. It's also very
true that it's hard to have a career
these days. It's a very fickle market."
The blond brothers - the other
two are 18-year-old Taylor and 15-
year-old Zac - have changed since
they stepped away from the spotlight
two years ago, and not just by grow-
ing taller. Their new clothes and hair-
styles suggest a bid to be seen as a
bit edgier, and their handlers hope
the time away might diffuse some of
the backlash that greeted their cheru-
bic images after "MMMBop" hit No.
1 in 27 countries.
"Most people only heard
'MMMBop,' not the whole album,
and a lot of them didn't listen to the
words, because, you know, it's a real-
ly serious song," Zac says in a tone
that is more reflective than defen-
sive. "This album is much harder
than 'MMMBop.' It's an evolution of
our sound."
In informal market testing,

I

member Bob Weir and their new
Internet venture with David Bowie's
UltraStar company. "That was cool,
jamming with Bob," Zac said.
"Really cool"
The lead single from the album,
the title track, hit radio in February;
although it hasn't been a huge hit, it
has been picked up by 115 stations
nationwide and just went on sale
Tuesday as a commercial single. The
album arrives May 9, and MTV is
gearing up to give the band a lot of
exposure, a promising sign because
the network is perhaps the most pow-
erful taste maker for young fans.
"The fact that they got haircuts or
changed their look, that's not as
important as the fact that it's a strong
record and the single is a strong sin-
gle," said Tom Calderone, MTV's
senior vice president of music and
talent. "They always wrote great
rock-pop songs, and these are a little
more rock."
Taylor says the new sound is a
reflection of the brothers' changing
musical tastes, which include Beck,
Train, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and
"Sheryl Crow, the Counting Crows, the
Black Crowes - all of the crows."
The album finds its edge in its
rootsy guitars - especially on three
tracks featuring another youthful
star, blues player Jonny Lang - but
also has softer moments with key-
boards and a gospel choir. John
Popper of Blues Traveler and DJ

Swamp from Beck's band also make
guest turns.
Without the glossy, prefabricated
vibe that surrounds most of todays
youth pop acts, Hanson is "self-conc.
tained, very inner-directed," said
Danny Goldberg, ex-chief of Mercuiy.
Records, Hanson's former label.
"They were not people who had any
type of real grasp of the context they
were in," said Goldberg, who now runs
the independent label Artemis. "When
we did their first video, we couldn't
find the language to talk to them with
because they had never watched MTV
... They were counterintuitive to po
which is often this manufactured, ca-
culated genre."
Indeed, today's pop seemsto
involve more calculations than a
NASA shuttle launch. Hanson's first
success came at a time when youth
pop was off the radar, but can they
repeat it in a scene cluttered with
MTV-ready cute guys?
"It's hard to tell," Goldberg said
"The pie's a lot bigger now, but there
are also a lot more competitors."
Watching 'N Sync and thew
Backstreet Boys break records wi-:
their sales to former Hanson fans"
must be a bit unsettling. Have theft
brothers considered putting down
their guitars and trying some dance.
moves just in case?
"No, no," Isaac says, "I don't thi
so. You wouldn't want to see us dance
Nobody does."

Photo courtesy of Islana/Def Jam
Isaac, Taylor and Zac have cut their golden locks and refined a sound that rocks.

Island/Def Jam reportedly played
some of the new songs for listeners
without telling them who was per-
forming, which may suggest a degree
of hope that Hanson can both build
on its past success and escape it.
Sure, "MMMBop" was named the
best single of '1997 in the Village
Voice poll of the nation's music crit-
ics, but the group was also routinely
roasted by comedians and rock musi-

cians as unchewable bubble gum.
Their music was also so of-the-
moment that many industry
observers were quick to announce
their time was done, especially after
their "Live From Albertane" concert
collection tanked in 1998.
The group itself has taken other
steps to change its image with some
intriguing partnerships, such as their
gigs in New York with Grateful Dead

U U I - *

ITUI

Free & Easy.
( 2words
you won' t hear
coming out
of her mouth.)

I

.A~

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