Jason Forrest: The Unrelenting Songs of the 1979 Post Disco Crash

Electronica fans familiar with Jason Forrest's Donna Summer work will know what to expect from this outrageous full-length. It's a sample-crazed pastiche of ‘70s and ‘80s music that shamelessly splices stadium rock, hair-metal, and prog-rock into the rudest, crudest tracks imaginable. Forrest's certainly not kidding when he professes his love for disco and Styx, but the music's so over-the-top and cartoon-like it feels almost criminal to bring a normal critical stance to it. It's a stomping party album, a huge wart on the pristine face of electronic music, and one so monstrously loud it's sure to blow out your speakers and incite your neigbours' wrath. As he plunders entire record shops for his tracks, one might imagine legal representatives of The Who, John Fogerty, and Jeff Lynne salivating over the album's lawsuit potential. While Forrest might try to defend himself by arguing that he creates ‘new' tracks, the sources are so nakedly exposed that the argument wouldn't amount to much, and, furthermore, Forrest is only too happy to acknowledge his sources and inspirations. Identifying sources is more difficult when a more nuanced practitioner of the sample art like Amon Tobin is involved, but here one plays spot-the-sample with ease. Is that really some cranked-up snippet of Toto's “Hold The Line” on “Spectacle To Refute All Judgements”? Could that be Peter Frampton's “Show Me The Way” at the end of Forrest's disco tribute “INKhUK”? Elsewhere one hears Rick Wakeman's organ, ELO, “Bennie and the Jets,” and Talking Heads' “Life During Wartime.” And the general style of the music? Imagine ridiculously massive beats and screeching rock guitar solos blended into some huge cacophonous noise and you've got the idea. Forrest's no dour laptopper, that's for sure, and that's rather refreshing. Certainly the electronica terrain should be broad enough to allow room for him too.

April 2004