Hard to fathom that DJ Muggs has already racked up 15 years solid in the game. Kid first appeared back in 1987 on the Colors soundtrack with a Philadelphia-based group named 7A3, then moved forward to build a serious rep for himself as the producer and DJ for L.A.'s stoned raiders, Cypress Hill. From there, he lent his style and credibility to help legitimize House of Pain and Everlast, did remixes for everyone from Wu-Tang Clan to Depeche Mode and also dropped two explosive Soul Assassins all-star compilation projects. Now our man Muggs points the compass needle in a different direction, this time with a handful of very distinctive vocalists behind the microphone.

I don't believe a single track here times out at more than 80 beats a minute, as Muggs has apparently tapped into that ambient/textural trip that Tricky introduced us to back in '95. Lots of different reference points here, but you have to assume that going in; Muggs has always incorporated sounds and textures from anywhere and everywhere. As he transitions into this next phase of his career, Dust is certainly no different in that respect. The two singers who appear on the majority of the songs are Josh Todd and Amy Trujillo. I haven't been able to track down any background on Trujillo, but I found two of her tracks, the ethereal "Faded" and "Dead Flowers," to be every bit as good as anything I've heard on the new Massive Attack Album. Todd--who used to front Buckcherry--sounds a tad like Wayne Coyne from Flaming Lips or Tyson Meade from another Oklahoma band, Chainsaw Kittens, and his lyrics are the weakest ingredient in the overall mix.

The two truly outstanding cuts here are anchored with more familiar vocalists: the first, "Fat City," features former Afghan Whig leader Greg Dulli; the other, "Gone For Good," is written and performed by Everlast. Dulli drops his lines on top of an absolutely killer piano-driven groove, and by the bridge you're already ready to start the song all over to hear it again--it's that good. Everlast, on the other hand, channels Leadbelly's "Packin' Trunk" and Hendrix's "Hey Joe" over a sub-low frequency bass track to tell us all about the woman who just mindfucked him into a homicidal rage ("I'll be good when you're gone forever/I'll be fine when you're gone for good/Girl, I don't even know how to reach you now/I hope baby you choke, I hope baby you drown/I say, hey Joe I heard you shot your old lady down"). Wouldn't listen to this song without all the lights on and your front door securely locked. Shit is genuinely disturbing. Of course, coming from the guy who produced "How I Could Just Kill A Man," it's just another day in the life of a studio O.G.

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Jeff Liles

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