Future Pilot A.K.A.: Vs. A Galaxy of Sound

Future Pilot A.K.A.
Vs. A Galaxy of Sound
Sulfur/Beggars Banquet

FOR SOME REASON the DJs with the largest record collections make the kitschiest records. Look at the shelves of vinyl on the cover of You've Come A Long Way, Baby, the hit album by vaunted novelty act Fatboy Slim, a man who seems to have been voted into iconhood by focus group, if not by Saatchi and Saatchi itself. No one watching this former Housemartins bassist collect check after soundtrack check should be shocked now that a run of shambling British popsters from the mid-Eighties are following suit, taking to their samplers and proclaiming DJ music the new avant-garde. Personally, I can't wait for the day when the rhythm guitarist from Dexy's Midnight Runners drops his own album, or for the Smiths' rhythm section to collaborate with Mixmaster Mike (oh, wait, that was the last Beastie Boys record).

For now I'll have to sate myself with the new double-disc set of rock vs. electronics stuff by Sushil K. Dade, the Indian guy (hey, he milks it) from the Soup Dragons. Yes, the Soup Dragons, who, I believe, were Scottish, and if not were at least shambling. Dade's current project, Future Pilot A.K.A., may feed off Bhangra mania, but consists of a series of unsexy collaborations between him and graying alt-rock lesser lights such as the Fall's Brix Smith, the Swell Maps' Jowe Head, Suicide's Alan Vega, and Kim Fowley's Kim Fowley. Not a promising list, this, but against my better prejudices, I've found myself spinning Vs. A Galaxy of Sound constantly.

In fact, the subtle pop sense that Future Pilot brings to its adopted genre is generally ignored by the sort of audience this disc aims to nab. There's rhythmic nuance aplenty here, even when the album's musicians eschew beat entirely, as on Bill Wells's piano plinker "Pink Money." Which goes to show that big beat (definition: funk without soul) minus the beat is just...alt-rock.

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