imputor? Press Clippings

DJs On Strike :: Too Hot For Solid Steel Review

Grooves #10

These Seattle-based shit disturbers have been taking the piss out of big-name DJs for over a year now, papering the Emerald City with stickers that say things like "It's Up To You - Steamin' Poo Oakenfold." Making fun of prog-house peons like BT and John Digweed is a bit like kicking a misbehaved mutt - no doubt well-deserved, but still cruel. Far better to take on the superstar DJs on their own turf. Here, producer Johnny Kawasaki does the jocks one better, sucking the saccharine melodies out of late-'80s AM radio stalwarts like Bryan Adams and Richard Marx and placing them over scratch-ridden, breaks-driven backdrops.

This mix was originally commissioned by Coldcut's Solid Steel, a radio program which usually finds high-minded recombinantors like DJ Food and Steinski trawling the vaults for the dustiest breakbeat ever. On Too Hot For Solid Steel, Kawasaki revels in the cheesy mainstream tripe which the obscurantists choose to pass over. Chopped up, flipped and (yes, Missy) reversed, Bette Midler's Beaches-era vocal takes on a spectral, affective tenor. Tina Turner's "What's Love Got To Do With It" is here gloriously resurrected, its tall-haired pop-romantic trappings stripped away to leave only Tina's stirring voice and a wicked funk-hop loop. Far more technically accomplished than 2 Many DJs' much-hyped "bastard pop," this record is a pop addict's nightmare, a pirate's wet dream. Kawasaki's project reminds us that there's beauty in pop music, even if it's only skin deep.
--Martin Turenne