Dabrye: Get Dirty

James T. Cotton: Like No One

Dabrye (real name Tadd Mullinix) offers a small reminder of what made his Two/Three release so special with an EP follow-up that includes a previously unreleased tune from the Two/Three sessions and makeovers of “Air” and “Game Over” by Kode 9 and Flying Lotus respectively (plus instrumental versions of each). “Get Dirty” chops heads in that inimitable Dabrye style, with AG throwing down over a banging groove that'll leave you dizzy and disoriented. Hyperdub majordomo Kode 9 twists Dabrye's “Air” original inside out, replacing its doom-laden vibe with something closer to bass-heavy synth-funk. Doom's vocal turn is about the only element from the original that remains though it's slowed slightly for this funkier treatment, and Kode 9's relatively restrained handling allows the MC's clever rhymes to be heard more clearly. In his “Game Over” remix, LA's Flying Lotus underscores Jay Dee and Phat Kat's lethal bark with a lurching slam but otherwise leaves the tune's epic crunch intact. Though they're bonus cuts, the instrumental versions are worth a listen too, even if only to sample the lulling bass flow in the Kode 9 mix. Yes, Get Dirty's a stopgap and, compared to most EPs, its contents are meager but even a small dose is enough to re-confirm Dabyre's genius and induce anticipation for the presumably-titled Three/Three.

Mullinix's latest James T. Cotton opus burns up the territory like an out-of-control steamroller moving at light speed. As psychotropic and relentless as 2004's The Dancing Box, the album-length Like No One is the next chapter in Mullinix's fresh reinvention of acid techno. It's also stylistically broad, with lethal stormers such as “Got to Let You Know” and “Sensational Rhythm” as much about funk as acid. Regardless of style, the album's seething “Jakbeat” material takes no prisoners, and the intensity doesn't drop one iota when collaborators Melvin Oliphant (aka Traxx) and D'Marc Cantu are brought aboard for Saturn V and 2AM/FM throwdowns. Throughout the eight tracks, thick synth lines mercilessly drill holes in one's skull as showers of ringing hi-hat patterns churn furiously. Mullinix often anchors the ferocity with rubbery kick drums and handclaps, which thereby prevent the dizzying tunes from spinning out of control. High points include the acid patterns that strafe the galloping roar of “The Boxx” like a satanically-possessed M16, the shredded voice patterns that stream over the rubbery pulse in the Saturn V track “Come Into My Life,” and the cut-up voice hook that boosts 2AM/FM's firestorm “Sensational Rhythm.” The set isn't perfect—dissonant machine convulsions almost render “Possessed Amplifier” unlistenable, and the ten-minute “Sensational Rhythm” is overlong—but the material is strong otherwise. Like No One indeed.

April 2008