Soulwax – The Mash Up Machine – I’m a sucker for anything that even vaguely references Kraftwerk such as this albums title and artwork making reference to Kraftwerk’s The Man Machine.Usually, bands that reference Kraftwerk are worthy of my time, and this is once again proven to be a correct assertion. Unlike the stAllio! album below, this one follows the more traditional mash up methodology only using Kraftwerk in one song. The rest are mash ups of bands we’ve all heard of before such as Nirvana, The Beatles, Kylie Minogue, etc. Taken at that, it’s a fun little audio excursion, but since I generally don’t listen to Top 40 acts I’m not sure why I would listen to them with different backing music. Still, it’s a fun little record.
South – You Are Here– I think I’m about done with this band. They have a nice sound, everything is all lined up nicely and where it should be. It’s all perfectly fine music but it seems to be missing a soul. Maybe some energy every now and then or some emotion or something. As it is, it tends to being boring and I have better things to do than to listen to mid-tempo yawn rock.
Spiritualized – Songs in A&E– Spiritualized is a tad bit of an acquired taste. This album requires a tad bit more acquiring than the last one or two albums. It is a much quieter affair and doesn’t have any of the over-the-top gospel-tinged anthems of previuos outings. Still, it’s a fine album and a good listen, just doesn’t hit the heights of previous albums.
Squarepusher – Just a Souvenir– I first listened to Squarepusher when he was lumped into the “Drum n Bass” category in the late 90’s. He always seemed a bit jazzier to me than his contemporaries and that tendency shows up on this album. It’s a sort of mutant jazz record that is aggressive and fairly creative. One song even has what can best be described as vocals. Good listen if you are into the more avant garde end of electronica.
stAllio! – Mash Smarter Not Harder– Free download here. Indianapolis based audio collage artist. This may be his most accessible work yet. It’s mash up’s for the ADD-set. Often head jarring in bouncing back and forth and sometimes unnerving because it just refuses to stay in one place. This isn’t an example of mixing 2 disparate artists. It’s an example of mixing 15 disparate artists into the same song, all meticulously cut-and-pasted one right after the other. Is it good? Who knows, but it’s something you should give a listen to!
Stereolab – Chemical Chords– I’ve never been a huge Stereolab fan and this album does nothing to change that. Talk about tedious. I kept checking to see how much time was left. I listened to this album once and that was enough.