Saturday, November 7, 2009

Cyclic Defrost Magazine

Cyclic Defrost Magazine

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Major Lazer – Guns Don’t Kill People…Lazers Do (Downtown/Inertia)

Posted: 06 Nov 2009 07:59 PM PST

Major Lazer

Separately, both US Baile Funk champion Diplo and UK-based fidget house figurehead Dave ‘Switch / Solid Groove’ Taylor have spent the last few years developing into producer / remixers du jour, with working relationship culminating in collaborative efforts on both MIA’s recent ‘Kala’ album and Santigold’s debut. This debut collaborative effort as Major Lazer sees the duo crafting something of a loose concept album based around a Jamaican commando hired as a renegade soldier by a rogue section of the US government, who lost his arm in the secret Zombie War of 1984. Indeed, there’s certainly a spaghetti western meets GI Joe comics aesthetic to the cartoonish sleeve art, something that’s also brought out more explicitly in the faux-Morricone guitar twangs and horse hoof sound effects that open ‘Hold The Line’ – an electro-Baile Funk excursion featuring Mr Lex and Santigold that manages to work the sampled noise of a mobile phone vibration alarm into its relentlessly cut-up grooves, with knowingly cheesy yet amusing results.

While the aforementioned track is certainly one of the most outwardly Baile Funk-centred moments on offer here, for the most part the stylistic aesthetic here falls more upon electro-dancehall, and indeed it’s no real surprise to find out that ‘Guns…’ was recorded and mixed at Bob Marley’s legendary Tuff Gong Studios in Jamaica. If the Ms. Thing-fronted ‘When You Hear The Bassline’ offers a more streamlined, electro and vocoders-laden take on the dancehall genre that calls to mind Ms Thing and Switch’s prior collaboration on the ‘2 Culture Clash’ compilation, ‘Anything Goes’ featuring Turbulence gets far more sparse and bleepy, with the addition of sampled gunfire and eerie minor key cinematic orchestration contributing just the right edge of uneasy undercurrent. Elsewhere, ‘Mary Jane’ offers up the obligatory bong suck-sampling weed anthem complete with brass band tubas and tweaked out Daft Punk-esque backing vocals, and while it’s suitably infantile, it actually fits quite well alongside the likes of ‘Bruk Out’, which basically revolves around T.O.K. Telling us just how many women he’s gonna shag and how. While a lot of the 13 tracks here don’t exactly offer up too much in the deep stakes, those tickled by Diplo and Switch’s previous production outings for MIA and Santigold should find that ‘Guns…’ provides some decent party fodder.

Chris Downton

Major Lazer – Guns Don’t Kill People…Lazers Do (Downtown/Inertia) is a post from: Cyclic Defrost Magazine.