Si Begg

Although he has released albums as Cabbage Boy, Buckfunk 3000, and S.I. Futures, Director's Cut is the first full-length album British producer Si Begg has presented under his own name. Begg may well be one of the world's only electronic musicians to credibly flit between techno, garage, breakbeat, and drum and bass, recording for top labels such as Tresor, Ninja Tune, and Language as well as for his own imprints like Noodles and Mosquito. But his myriad aliases (which also include Bigfoot and Dr. Nowhere and the Maverick DJ) have so far kept him from garnering the attention he deserves. Director's Cut effortlessly mashes up these styles to reveal a multifaceted talent previously known only to bin-scouring DJs.

Seriousness is about the last thing you'll find in a Begg song unless you're talking about technique. Take "Kebabs," a parody of the woozy late-night exchanges ("I'll have 30 kebabs, mate") that take place every weekend in England as punters stumble out of pubs and into Indian takeaways. "VIP" lampoons the overwrought sound of trance as a computerized voice proclaims, "You are not important!" At times, "River" seems to channel a fairly dreadful Sting-like ballad, but given Begg's propensity for tomfoolery it's probably a safe bet to say that guest singer Jinadu's lofty vocals are performed with tongue firmly in cheek (at least we hope so, for his sake). But "River" is a low point in an otherwise incredibly fun album that deflates the puffery of egotistical dance stereotypes with witty and finely crafted tunes.

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Tamara Palmer