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Wednesday, July 4, 2001

Ambient workouts

Posted By on Wed, Jul 4, 2001 at 12:00 AM

At a party almost three years ago, a fellow electrophile introduced himself to yours truly midmix as I struggled to beatmatch for maybe 15 people (it was a small party… stop laughing). Mike Dykehouse humbly slurred on about how he might be making a “bedroom listening” record for Mike Paradinas’ (aka mü-Ziq) label and how surprised he was by this prospect. “Wow,” I said aloud. My inner monologue: “Have another, dude.”

But it was Dykehouse’s DEMF performance last year that turned the tables, surprising the other slack-jawed onlookers and me. A hyperactive, one-man electronic Metallica show — nothing like the album, but amazingly fun.

Dynamic Obsolescence? Obsolescent tastes harsh, but the sounds here are certainly older. It evokes nearly all of your favorite British experimental chaps circa 1995-1997 (nothing wrong with that). This fluid collection of tracks recorded from ’96 to ’01 shows that if you restructure an older sound, many elements can be recycled. Dynamic? Hell, yes.

The first several tracks, from “yorkshire acid burn” to “kalamazoo” are a brief history of experimental “electronica.” In a clear departure, “record store track” and “cargo cult” give Kool & the Gang the electric Kool-Aid acid test. “Chapel hillectro” is driving electro-pop soul. “Ypsitucky” and “tauq 2” chime in on the smooth and serious tip while “ultra taboo” and “last track” decompress the album’s melodic structures into a satisfying electronic yawn.

In 1996, Richard James (Aphex Twin) and Mike Paradinas co-wrote a jaunty album titled Expert Knob Twiddlers as Mike & Rich. The collaboration was a cult success and clearly as much fun for the artists as their fans. Dykehouse, however, has combined the introspective sounds of these electrauteurs in ways we didn’t see with M&R. With Paradinas mastering his tracks to perfection, Dykehouse injects some R&B-style soul into the UK’s synth ’n’ bass canon.

Mike Dykehouse performs Wednesday, July 11 at Blind Pig.

E-mail Robert Gorell at letters@metrotimes.com.

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