Tuesday, September 14, 2004:

Bug Powder Dust

Bomb the Bass -- Bug Powder Dust
I first encountered Kruder & Dorfmeister by making an offhand comment to a friend about how good jazz, dub, and triphop sounded together. I don't remember what it was that provoked that comment--a shoutcast station, probably--but my friend insisted I buy the K & D Sessions. It's a two-disc set of DJ mixes; it's immediately accessible, but the longevity is good too. I've listened to the discs countless times over the last few years and I haven't grown disenchanted with them or curious about what I saw in them.

Kruder & Dorfmeister are two DJs from Austria, and though they've got a couple of their own numbers on the discs, their bread and butter is remixing others' works. It's a bit disappointing, maybe--their songs are as strong the remixes--but when the remixes are this good, what's to complain about? I would have been happy posting nearly any song off the set, but I decided on this one because I think it captures the general mood and approach of the discs. (Though some of the more exuberant songs were tempting, especially Peter Kruder's "Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitänskajütenremix" of Rainer Trüby Trio's "Donauschingen.") This is one of two songs that appear on both discs but in different forms, so that it's something of a pleasant surprise to hear them again.

It's apparent that Kruder and Dorfmeister have listened to a lot of dub, but there's plenty I like about this song aside from the delay, the panning, and the sound effects. There's the low bass for starters, and the guitar, the lyrics and their delivery, and then the song's structure. What intrigues me about K & D mixes is just how loose they make them: they let out the tension until it's so slack the song seems almost to have stopped, then something comes along and gives it a kick: the vocals, the guitar, the bass.... It's a popular technique and I'm not saying they invented it, but with some bands it strikes me as gimmicky but all throughout this set it just seems organic to what the music is.

The set as a whole is strong; it has a warmth and richness to it that keeps bringing me back. It's pleasant to let play in the background, but it also rewards more careful attention. It's a solid purchase.

update: I just read the pitchfork review, and wow.... Obviously a difference of opinion. The line about Ginsberg makes sense if you hear "Howl" instead of "Al," but whatever. I get the feeling I'm not hip enough to hang with the pitchfork kids. Still, it's a useful site.


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