DJ Spooky Drums Of Death (with Dave Lombardo)

[Thirsty Ear; 2005]

Styles: illbient turntablism, abstract electronic, experimental
Others: Bill Laswell, DJ Wally, Madlib, DJ Krush

It may be called DJ Spooky versus Dave Lombardo, but there is a lot more at work here. Public Enemy's Chuck D and Living Color guitarist Vernon Reid guest on quite a few tracks, while Jack Dangers (a.k.a. Meat Beat Manifesto) shows up on just about everything, snagging a co-producer credit alongside Spooky. You see projects like this in Hollywood all the time, this being the musical equivalent of an ensemble cast, which can go one of two ways depending on the attitudes of those involved. If everyone tried to steal every scene, you've got another Mars Attacks on your hands. But if everyone settles in, knows, and accepts their roles, you may have the workings of a classic. Luckily, no one appears to be too overbearing on this project. Spooky usually adds little swirling hints of atmosphere and some light scratching to all of his tracks, while Lombardo provides a steady beat or, when required, some downright breathtaking jams. Check "Incipit Zarathustra" with your headphones if you need any proof he's not your average session drummer. Reid's "For Whom The Bell Tolls" slice of licks are always a welcome sound, too. Most of the vocal tracks here are decent, but the one major flaw I find is starting the album with Chuck D's -- it has to be said -- uninspired interpretation of "Brother's Gonna Work It Out," one of three Public Enemy re-imaginings here, falling closer to the Beyoncé version than the Willie Hutch or the PE originals. Lord knows the world will still be reeling from Knowles' version for years to come. But, by the same token, there's not a whole lot of convention stickling here neither. At one moment, we are privy to the phased upbeat trip-hop jam session of "The Art Of War" right before a severe death metalling at the hands of "Terra Nullius"; then poof: a rap-rock rendition of "Public Enemy # 1. Universal Time Signal
2. Brother's Gonna Work It Out feat. Public Enemy
3. Quantum Cyborg Drum Machine
4. Guitar DJ Tool Element
5. Metatron
6. Assisted Suicide feat. Dalek & Merideth Monk
7. Kulter Kreig
8. Sounds From Planet x
9. B-Side Wins Again feat. Chuck D
10. Incipit Zarathustra
11. A Darker Shade Of Bleak
12. The Art Of War
13. Terra Nullius
14. Public Enemy #1 feat. Chuck D
15. Obscure Disorder (Ghosthacked)
16. Particle Storm

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