Tuesday, August 12, 2008

... In Order to Understand This:

Great Summer Games Stuff: A Tribute to Human Rights
(Great Stuff)
Listening to Great Summer Games Stuff is like watching the Olympics on television. If you're a house-music glutton, this compilation mainlines the ceaseless kick drum for the duration of two globe-spanning discs. A more casual listener, like the average Olympics viewer, passively pays attention but perks up when something remarkable happens.

Disc one's first gold medal comes from Turkey's Butch. The track screws with expectations by slowing the beat down and dropping it out entirely, usually by pitch-bending the samples of locale-appropriate woodwinds as if they're melting.

A silver medal goes to Germany's Swen Weber for pushing a brisk hi-hat scuffle to the forefront and countering a buzzing bassline with some sort of marching-band anthem the fades in and out like a passing parade.

Disc two offers more to grab our interest, with an almost-ambient opener from Japan's Tokyo Black Star. [Who is actually French native Alex Prat -- ed.]

Greek techno DJ/procuder Mihalis Safras gets top honors for his contribution that combines a minimal, watery rhythm with a weird guitar break that shouldn't fit, but does -- even when it takes over and drapes cinematic shadow over the proceedings.

Romania's OK Corral do right too, with a playful 8-bit number. They get bonus points for claiming to be from Bucharest, circa the year 2259.

England, New Zealand and Australia all bring the big, dumb fun, with a blaring rave/big beat throwback from Atomic Hooligan, a glorious mess by Greg Churchill, and a track by Tommy Trash that ignores genre divisions the way a good pop construction should.

The connection to both the Olympics and human rights feels tenuous, but if any of The Typing Monkey's theory (see above) holds water, maybe a DJ really can save a life. It's no less believable than the fact that every few years we ignore continuing global strife in order to play a bunch of games.

Reference materials: Click on the artist links in the review, and see if you find something to suit your fancy. Or snoop around the Great Summer Games Stuff tack list for yourself.