Surgeon This Is For You Shits

[Warp; 2007]

Styles: unapologetic freakin’ dance music
Others: James Ruskin, Karl O’Connor

Highly regarded as one of the most uncompromising and thoroughly dedicated practitioners of a genre that to this day goes greatly misunderstood, Surgeon's (nee Anthony Child's) definition of techno, alongside others such as Karl O'Connor and Peter Sutton, identifies more readily with self-cited heroes Suicide, Coil, and Throbbing Gristle than with the Detroit forefathers. This is not to suggest that the genius of May or Atkins doesn't find a place within his framework of reference, but it tends to take a decided backseat to the darker moods and stances of said primary influences. Do keep this in mind when considering the weight and depth of this latest offering by Child.

Following the stunning duo of twelves bearing the name Whose Bad Hands Are These?, Warp releases his second commercially available DJ mix. Remaining defiantly detached among the endless parade of trends that circulate non-stop in the realm of dance music, This Is For You Shits is brutal reminder that there is more out there than what you read about ad nauseam in every online and print periodical. And although this release will not convert anyone reluctant to a less commercially viable form of techno, as it can be rather punishing depending on your personal threshold, for those open to the dialog, it is mecca. It should be stated as further proof of his intentions here that a recent online mix was labeled with the term "snuff," something that speaks equally well for this effort.

Child deftly navigates through a selection of tracks drawn from his own releases on his Counterbalance label, as well as Karl O'Connor's Downwards imprint, the Warp roster (Squarepusher, Autechre, Aphex Twin), hero Scorn, etc., and a classic or two thrown in for good measure -- Aphex Twin's remix of Curve track "Falling Free," for example. Any release that utilizes elements of the brilliantly brutal British Murder Boys -- the Surgeon and Karl O'Connor collaborative alias -- demands attention. You also get a dose of Whitehouse, which to many is worth the price of admission alone. This is dance music speaking to the body at its most primal level, taunting, demanding, and unrelenting. In another word, it is exhilarating.

Utilizing the Ableton Live program in the dissecting and layering of fragments, he has crafted a dizzying onslaught of restless rhythms, squelches, and tonal drifts. Mixes of this nature showcase the talent of the DJ as more than just a selector. Shifts and layering become priority, as does the ability to create the artist's own unique build in structural momentum, which takes precedence over the hotness of a track. A serious and admirable DJ can create a succession of inspired moments to the listener on the dance floor with only a handful of twelves that are 20-plus years old; Child is one of them.

It has been a bit of time since Child has released a full-length artist album amid the flurry of his solo and collaborative twelves. He is one of the few in this specific discipline to issue artist albums that openly engage beginning to end. Hopefully the wait is merely the calm before that storm. Perhaps a full-length British Murder Boys lurks in the wings? This Is For You Shits certainly goes a long way in providing relief in the meantime, however, doubling as an initiation for those unfamiliar with his oeuvre and, as with any good mix, as an insight into the mind of a techno terrorist of the highest caliber.

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