Mahjongg Machinegong EP

[Cold Crush; 2004]

Styles: sophisticated party music for dancing robots, electro, artfunk
Others: Material, !!!, Cabaret Voltaire, Liquid Liquid, A Certain Ratio

Thanks to bands like the Tussle, Liars, the Rapture, and the Walkmen, the last couple of years have brought the EP back into viable format status. For a stretch before that, it seemed tactical to milk us of $9.98 for what could easily have either been pared down to a two-song, $3.98 single or saved up for use on a full-length with just a little more thought and time.

However, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the EP was often a statement unto itself. Factory Records, SST, and 99 Records were churning out 12- to 24-minute gems that stood strong as the mini-LPs they were. They were also representative of the urgency and fragility of what was going on at the time. Plus, you could frequently shake your ass to them. And let's face it: whatever mind-altering substance was hip at the moment (with few exceptions) potentially prevented one from being able to shake one's ass for the entire length of an LP. So this here EP metaphor is working on many levels. Weird.

This unrelenting, invasive, little cut-and-splice offering will make you wonder which end is up, then cause you to dig out your Atari game system so you can listen to Neu and play Space Invaders. Or shit, you could just download the simulator and play it on your computer. At any rate, there's little time to think here; after a mere 12-second intro, you're immediately propelled into what feels like a dance contest between A Certain Ratio and Throbbing Gristle with Gang of Four's guitar player as the superstar guest judge. Follow that with "aluminum," which could be Pigbag or Trouble Funk covering a Brian Eno song, and you're bound to reacquaint yourself with muscles you forgot you had. You know, because it'll make you want to dance. Sicko!

These bizarre Midwesterners ought to be hitting up your neighborhood soon with the lovely and congenial owners of their label, Pretty Girls Make Graves. Trust me, their live show will not disappoint. Never you mind the public image, just be sure to wear your dancing shoes.

1. Untitled
2. Jamdek
3. Countdown (the chicken)
4. Aluminum
5. (Bishop) Desmond Tutu
6. Silver Series (MDG remix)
7. Turf War (on a global scale)