Rvng Prsnts MX5 – Justine D (2007)
Digital rip @ 320 Kbps
This sounds a hell of a lot better than I expected!
Pretty … pretty … pretty … good!
Check out the tracklist:
Remember 2004? Remember suicidal depression in November, a whole summer spent watching VH1’s “I Love the 90s”, and the swift and vicious post-2 Many DJs backlash against “eclectic” DJ mixes? Well three years later, I’m still loving this tendency in 21st century mixology to just play whatever sounds good, regardless of genre or year of release. Besides, backlash comes and goes. The deserved acclaim thrown at the feet of Scottish duo Optimo is proof that even grouchy grousers have grown more comfortable with a generation of DJs out to keep on unearthing cool old music. All they’re trying to do is share, you know.
Optimo’s JD Twitch lent a hand with the recording for Justine D’s Mx5, the latest mix CD from New York’s Rvng boutique, following top shelf limited edition discs from Crazy Rhythms (the duo of Dan Selzer and Mike Simonetti) and DFA duder Tim Sweeney. Unlike Optimo’s mixes– potentially deadly acts of multi-track chainsaw juggling pulled off with the blithe, dizzying panache of assured showmen– Justine D blends and bleeds across eras with just your traditional DJ fades and chops, while still casting a wide net for cool records. A jury of cranky dance music fans might look at the tracklist for Mx5 and simply conclude “eclectic,” but I’m fairly comfortable saying it’s the first mix CD to ever feature Chic, Crass, and the Cars.
But like kohl around the eye, Justine D traces a small, dark spot on the dancefloor where flamboyant goth-pop, haughty electro(clash), hypnotic techno, rigid EBM, concrete block German new wave, skeletal punk, and glam-era Bowie all intersect. (She takes a short side trip at the start for a little shoegaze’n’sitars psychedelic baggy.) It’s a mid-tempo nighttime stroll through various districts of black-clad clubland, dour disco for dancing in place. Not for nothing does she choose the strings from the most zombie-zonked of Chic tracks, the ravenous but exhausted plea of “I Want Your Love”. The smashed neon and burnt chrome of Mx5‘s proto-techno and bleak disco could be the soundtrack to Blade Runner‘s wayward replicant Priss, lost on 2014’s Hollywood Boulevard Babylon.
Despite contemporary DJs and mp3 blog culture making formerly forbidden found sounds like Mick Fleetwood afro-disco tracks and Alan Parsons Project album cuts cool for old punkers and nu-ravers alike, many are still wary of anything tagged in iTunes as “goth” or “industrial.” My primary introduction to dance music came from an older girlfriend who had grown up and through the succession of 80s electronic beat music, from synthpop to industrial, hitting New York after college just as house music did. Listening to Mx5 brought back some pretty uncanny memories from the years we dated– learning about Nitzer Ebb and the Orb at the same time, getting into arguments about Ministry on the subway, slowly shedding my prejudices via rock- and foot-friendly bands like Christian Death that all goth had be a) Slow, and b) Terrible. (All of my fellow My Chemical Romance fans are urged to check out Only Theatre of Pain.)
All of those artists are on Mx5, snug in the DJ box next to more expected fare such as Hot Chip, Delia and Gavin, and Italian synth-soundtrack maestros Goblin– whose nightmarish combo of distant drums, music box chimes, gargling vocals, and death-folk guitar is the creepiest thing on the disc, and that’s before it turns into a funk rock record produced by Giorgio Moroder in Grandpa Munster drag. Surprise, surprise– it all sounds great. I’m not convinced enough to go trawling through the Wax Trax stax just yet, but isn’t that why we keep DJs around, to find these shiny lumps of coal? “Beware the savage lure of 1984,” Mr. Bowie seems to be warbling on the song of the same name, but that’s very poor advice on the evidence of Mx5.
-Jess Harvell, March 30, 2007