By Rob van Alstyne
By Zach McCormick
By Emily Eveland
By Jack Spencer
By Michael Madden
By Reed Fischer
By Emily Weiss
By Emily Weiss
Looks Like Velvet, Smells Like Pee
You won't be seeing a Bottleskup Flenkenkenmike profile on Livin' Large or any other variation on Lifestyles of the Rich and Vacuous. In fact, the day the guerrilla technomancer shows off his endangered species thongs for Carmen and Kadeem on national television will fall around the time his full-length solo debut takes the nation's Wal-Marts by storm--which is to say, never.
Not that Flenkenkenmike, a.k.a. Aidan Girt, gives a rat's ass about gigabucks or sky-high visibility: He gets plenty of attention playing drums with Godspeed You Black Emperor. Plus, Looks Like Velvet will afford him street cred galore. The inspired rant on the album's closer, "Bronze Medal for Fence Hopping at the Punk Olympics," is the first indication that Girt is far comfier off camera, perhaps wearing a simple black ski-mask/gas-mask combo and holding a pair of wire cutters. "I gotta say this quick, before they change the laws on us," Girt begins, plunging into a scathing indictment of everything from commodity culture to Kylie Minogue before closing with the kind of modest proposal that could very well land him on an FBI list if it weren't all just in good fun.
But Girt's monkey-wrenching m.o. isn't limited to the album's few well-placed bits of political rhetoric. Again and again, he lays waste the rules of techno, building his hypnotic epics around samples from his rock drum kit. On many of Looks Like Velvet's 10 tracks--notably the dubwise finale of "Bronze Medal" and the filter disco masterpiece "Festival Du Jazz Du Maurier Suicide Bombing"--Girt revels in the kind of unabashed maximalism that could make even a density freak like Jeff Mills turn the color of money. Don't be surprised if he doesn't get club play: His fi is too relentlessly lo, his strategies too arcane, and his politics too forthright to capture DJs and crowds accustomed to the high-buck, high-gloss bombast of vapid slicksterizers like Paul Oakenfold and Armand Van Helden. But people will still dance to Flenkenkenmike in campus apartments, tenement squats, and gutsy underground venues like the Dinkytowner, where he performed last October. Looks Like Velvet is that rare album of four-to-the-floor dance tracks that makes for enjoyable listening even while you're sitting down.