Matthew Herbert: Globus Mix Vol. 5, and Frankie Bones: You Know My Name

Matthew Herbert
Globus Mix Vol. 5: Let's All Make Mistakes
Tresor

Frankie Bones
You Know My Name
Moonshine

NOBODY EVER STARTED a party by shouting, "Let's get minimal!" Nevertheless, that's the battle cry of most techno DJs, including characters as seemingly dissimilar as veteran Brooklyn populist Frankie Bones and cerebral Londoner Matthew Herbert. Both DJs' excellent new mix CDs are variations on the same theme: Rough, skeletal beat-science relieved by occasional vocals, machine-generated timbral color, and a lively overall mood. And played side-to-side, each man's work enriches the other.

Herbert is the more composed of the two. And so is his music. A former jazz keyboardist who studied electro-acoustic theory at university, Herbert approaches both record making and record spinning like a grad student at Pleasure Principle U. Where 1998's gorgeous Around the House and his sumptuous remix the following year of Moloko's "Sing it Back" lolled around like mercury on a waterbed, the approach of Let's All Make Mistakes is more angular. Here he explores how much texture you can wring out of a simple groove. Picking the simplest tracks by a surprising array of artists--pothead savants Nightmares on Wax, electro revivalist Si Begg, minimalist godhead Plastikman--Herbert shapes a mix that bumps along passionately. Just check the interaction between the strutting disco bassline and menacing rattlesnake shake of Auto Repeat's "Def Jam"; the air-compression chamber speaking in Morse code of Traktor's "Master Traktor"; and the foursquare-funky riff of Begg's "Test Tube Baby," which breaks through Traktor's aural dust clouds just as you think you're going to start choking. At the end is Hombre Ojo's "La Musica," a flute-kissed comedown that, after much quick cutting, is like watching the sun rise over the ocean. Like, wow.

By contrast, when Frankie Bones mixes into a self-produced track urging us to "Get the F*%$ Up," the proper response is more along the lines of, "Yes, sir! Right away, sir!" His Moonshine debut wastes little time announcing itself: Once the opening number, Mario Piu's "Communication," has built itself up and broken itself down, Bones keeps things as in-your-face as the CD's title. Gradually, he even adds more melodic elements--some of these tracks actually have chords. But though the lethal kickdrum attack of DJ Randy's "Drums Please" and the droning bass of "Bad Dog," by Charlie Hall vs. Cofusion, may be cruder than Herbert's selections, they're just as rapturous. Though their processes may differ, neither man ever forgets that his primary job is to get physical.

 
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