DAT Politics: Are Oui Phony?

Original Hamster: Trendsetter and the Followers

VA: Let's Lazertag Sometime

Sonic Dadaists DAT Politics return with Are Oui Phony??, a deranged mini-album of wacky electropop. The disc's dizzying concoctions of vocal lunacy, splattering breaks, and arcade sputter are sure to cause a headache or two, especially when a screeching wailer like “Rainbow Connection” makes a brief pit-stop in the dentist's office. The dirty electro of “Motor Day” bleeps and stomps like a spoiled child (Kevin Blechdom adds suitably looney vocals) while the bleepy burner “Pekin Synth Star” is your parents' worst nightmare come to life. With the exception of “Space Kitchen Companion” (a cat, judging by the meows that resound alongside the song's churning machine noise), the energy never flags. Amidst all the madness, it's easy to overlook the fact that, buried beneath the popping beats and car-crash squelch of “Sad Snow Man” and “Rainbow Connection,” lie a handful of jubilant sing-song melodies.

Following remix work for the likes of Senor Coconut, Drop the Lime, and others, Chilean Original Hamster weighs in with the longplayer Trendsetter and The Followers, ten tracks of high-spirited, vocoder-heavy electro-house capped by a septet of remixes. Disco-funk beats, polished arrangements, and strong hooks elevate the disc's material above the norm though one wishes Original Hamster would ease up on the android vocal effect. He lets his Kraftwerk freak flag fly in the robotic “Powerpoint,” tightens the slippery funk groove in a “Burning Down the House” cover, and elsewhere samples hammerhead electro (“Next Season”), bruising techno (“Im the Law” [sic]), and acidy Latin-house (“Apet8”). The remixes are strong too: Atom™'s ‘Stereonerds' treatment of “ABC1” is so delectably sweet it equals OH's original, Krikor slices and dices “Marketshare” in a memorable French-house makeover, and kid606 soaks “Props” in a banging acid mix.

The good times clearly keep on coming for Tigerbeat fans. On the 79-minute Let's Lazertag Sometime comp, the label's artists sound as if they were raised in homes where Here Come The Warm Jets, The B-52's, Roxy Music, and The Slider were kept on perpetual rotation (White Williams' “Headlines” resembles an oddball blend of Marc Bolan and “Spirit in the Sky”). Many acts benefit from the comp format, given how much less digestible full-length servings of their work might be: 40 minutes of Quintron and Miss Pussycat's electro-sleaze would try one's patience but the 4-minute call-and-response romp “Swamp Buggy Badass” makes for a perfect opener. Strap yourself in for raucous garage punk (Clipd Beaks' “Nuclear Arab”), synth workouts (Phon.O's “313 Dumpsta Railin'”), breathy folk-pop (Dwayne Sodahberk's “Cambiocorsa”), booty-bass ravers (Kid606's “Let It Rock”), scuzzy rockabilly (Boy from Brazil 's “Pocket Rocket Queen”), breakcore insanity (Puzzleweasel's “Taliban Terrorist Training”), and more. Though much of it tests the boundaries of taste, only rarely does it go too far (Knifehandchop's lyrically offensive “Dirty New York”). ‘Cheerleaders-on-acid'-styled fun for the whole family.

January 2007