By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Low-down, dirty future techno blues
Subliminal Sandwich, Meat Beat Manifesto's latest, is a magnum opus of post-rave electronica. Mastermind Jack Dangers unleashes the possibilities of sampling and sound manipulation to produce a chilling soundtrack for the approaching end-of-the-millennium paranoia. Dub bass riffs collide with electronic beats in the midst of fascinating studio trickery. The result is a numbing collage, too slow and bleak to dance to, yet hypnotic enough to generate the desire for movement.
As rhythmic as it is cerebral, Meat Beat Manifesto creates moody aural landscapes that are subtly compelling even when they feel claustrophobic. Dangers' subjects include the Unabomber, nuclear weapons, and other perils of the century, set in fragmented yet often cinematic melodies. He has made a smooth transition from late '80s industrial--as part of the Wax Trax alliance of synthesizer terrorists--to low-down, dirty future techno blues.
Loop Guru, on the other hand, couldn't be happier and more optimistic about the future and its technological abundance. It can take the gamelan music of Indonesia, wailing Arabic songs, Indian mantras, and Tibetan chants and throw them all in its techno bag, concocting something that is entirely its own. It gives the phrase "cultural imperialism" a brand-new meaning:When the members of Loop Guru take the stage in their exotic garb, bathed in psychedelic lights and pounding out their exhilarating message of world unity, it seems totally irrelevant whether this is clever shtick, the plundering of ethnic music, or an earnest attempt at the wishful fiction of "one world/one culture." By using both technology and real instruments, they keep their feet firmly dancing in both worlds.
As Amrita, their newest album, suggests, the members of Loop Guru see the pure joy of ancient music, unfettered by Western analytical considerations about origin or intent. They ride the mad rush of adrenaline that spitfires through the veins of a shaman beating his bongos or an ecstatic Balinese dancer, all elation, joy, and celebration--old world music with new world rhythms.
Meat Beat Manifesto, Loop Guru, and Alex Patterson perform September 19 at Deep Ellum Live.