Reviews

Meat Beat Manifesto

When Meat Beat Manifesto released its seminal debut album Storm the Studio in 1989, both politics and dance pop looked bleak. Conservatives ran the show, and the mind-numbing post-disco thump of house and techno ruled the dance floor. But Storm put everyone on notice: Simplistic hedonism was dead. MBM's sample of primordial punk William S. Burroughs's chant to "Storm the studio" urged listeners to seize the means of production, to create chaos, to do something. Storm blasted the genre rules of the time, boosting hip-hop breakbeats, substantive samples, scratch edits, and electro flavor with dub technique and industrial attitude.

This year MBM's Jack Dangers fittingly commissioned a diverse lineup of innovative producers -- including post-techno producer Jonah Sharp and DJs Spooky and Swamp -- to remix tracks from Storm. The resulting Storm the Studio R.M.X.S. reflects how durably the original album's exploratory spirit has withstood electronica's whirlwind history. Norscq traces the outline of "God O.D." with samples of Southeast Asian folk music, while German minimalist Komet calmly edits the dense, slow-rolling "Re-animator" down to its pulsing, electronic core. That song's urgency even withstands the ethereal, emotional distance of a remix by highly intellectual knob-twiddler Scanner. And Dangers's Martian broadcast mix of his own "Cease to Exist" (with his current recording partner, Ben Stokes) helps put Storm the Studio in its proper perspective as an album that should have come out fifteen years from now.

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