Jamal Moss, the human being behind the Hieroglyphic Being, applies his special techno technique to three tunes by Public Image Limited, Kissing The Pink and Bigod 20. Perhaps not what you might expect Jamal to be delving into, but of course he totally knows how to re-work the material into his own richly hard-jacking style. 12” on Medusa Edits.
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8/10 Thomas Spice Customer review, 20th July 2017
Glossy eyed musical nostalgia is now commonplace in western society with all of us guilty of steeping our minds in the murky soup of the past. Whether it be in the weekly ritual of idly flicking through your feed to see yet another grainy youtube video of back in the day or lapping up the seemingly endless stream of BBC4 prog documentaries, looking backwards is a huge part of life in the data blitzkrieg. While for many of us the experience can be gauche and unhealthy in the hands of cultural savants like Jamal Moss the act of retrospect can be a liberating act of artistic re-evaluation.
Thus the Medusa Edits that pay homage to the early clubbing experiences that Moss had in Chicago nightclub Medusa's are a reflection that is very welcome. Medusa's was formative in Moss's musical outlook as it fed him a broad selection of electronic music that would come to have a heavy bearing on his sonic palette when he began tinkering with drum machines in the early 90s. A crew of forward thinking DJs at Medusa's would ply the crowd with new wave, EBM, Chicago house, synth pop, punk and dark disco tracks; live acts such as Front 242, Skinny Puppy and Ministry would perform to a diverse crowd of fashionista's and fringe characters.
The homage to this halcyon period of musical discovery see Moss take tracks from that era and add his unique form of "rhythmic cubism and sonic expressionism" to the process. Moss has long been a fan of Ron Hardy's raw and pummelling style of looped edit so it is understandable that these edits are long and heavily focused on the rhythmic churn. Kissing The Pink's gently sashaying synth pop tune "The Last Film" from 1983 album "Naked" is stretched and given a steroidal injection in the buttocks. Thick industrial bass and cavernous reverb heavy snare hits punctuate the refix marrying perfectly with the desperation lingering in the original vocals.
The other two tracks on the 12" are given less radical overhauls. Moss teases and goads some more aggression out from the already spiky PIL track "Chant" from Metal Box. The strong and propulsive post punk rhythmic framework and Lydon's chants are looped and frenzied to make a densely potent tool. Similarly the ragged jacking drum tracks already in Bigod 20's "Body to Body" are amped up, given a pack of caffeine tablets and no dinner then let loose to surge endlessly through the circuitry of Moss's roland sampler.
Where looking backwards in clubland is often corny pastiche Moss takes manages to reflect in a way that is inspiring. Here the music that soundtracked the lives of many Chicago residents is refracted through the twisted mindset of an electronic music pioneer giving us a glimpse in to the dangerous sensual overload that was Moss's mindset on the dance floor at Medusa's.
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