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Wednesday, February 16, 2000

No parking on the dance floor

Posted By on Wed, Feb 16, 2000 at 12:00 AM

Tjinder Singh is a genius in short bursts. That is, you should approach any full-length works from the mastermind behind Cornershop and, now, Clinton, with an appropriately pro-rated attention span or face the consequences of going deep into the mind of an unparalleled musical collage artist. Clinton’s a two-person operation on paper (a studio collective centered around Singh in reality) making cheeky fun of the dance floor-disco musical vocabulary, lifestyle, culture, etc. – while slipping in subtle bits of countercultural disinformation amid the funk and beat-savvy flexing. Ostensibly, Disco and the Halfway to Discontent is an experiment in reflexive commentary on the nightclub mentality that forsakes traditional international and governmental politics and at-large culture for the equally Byzantine politics of dancing. In practice, the record is a diffuse collection of midtempo jammies that wouldn’t be out of place in a DJ remix culled from such American indie dance floor politicos and post-ironic commentators as the Make-Up and Dub Narcotic Sound System. Clinton’s cuts are minimalist, cheesy and deceptively simple at times, robust, earthy and funked out at others (with healthy flourishes of dub, Punjabi folk, tricked-out hip hop and left-field samples that flavor the affair with an international spice just short of jet-set and more than simply urban). And, individually, the tracks almost uniformly kill. Taken as a whole, which is no doubt exactly how you’re not supposed to absorb or dance to this record, it’s got the feeling of an empty dance floor and the taste of a few too many watered-down, drink-special cocktails.

But, then again, maybe that’s exactly the point.

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