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Drop the Lime - This Means Forever

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Artist: Drop the Lime

Album: This Means Forever

Label: Tigerbeat6

Review date: Apr. 20, 2005

This Means Forever might have been a perfect match for the geeks who understand the programming behind splattering, spastic drum hits. But Drop the Lime, a.k.a. Brooklyn's Luca Venezia, has moved beyond the beats, adding vocals that make surprisingly good sense among the predictable chaos. Processed but not cut-up, Venezia's near-yell could easily be mistaken for Fugazi's Guy Piccioto, his percussive cadence and delivery approaching tonality without ever touching it. In fact, humanity abounds and should ensure that more and more people outside the normal Tigerbeat6 audience will be tuning in to Drop the Lime.

While the material still resembles the early work of Bogdan Raczynski and breakcore contemporaries like Doormouse and Xanopticon, there's a live quality to Venezia's work that sets him apart. Any music with this much rhythmic complexity is deeply rooted in pre-programming of samples, but Venezia's live shows reveal that he's put a lot of thought into creating a performance out of his sequencing. Most musicians using Max/MSP software in a live environment choose to emphasize effects and processing during performance; Venezia uses it to trigger and layer beats in real-time. And it shows: loops and samples are quantized outside of a time signature in a way that no sequencer could approximate. Venezia succeeds in taking apart the hyper-rigid and alien micro-timing that defines most breakcore, preferring to bring the near-disarray into his own human time signature.

"Hushhushdance" hacks up breakbeats with a stop-start madness as Venezia desperately spits the barely intelligible call "Let's take this to the dancefloor / I'm gonna dance this one off with you / forever" through mountains of distortion and pitch-shifting. Some of the basic elements of jungle anthems are thrown around whimsically: big, dramatic synth stabs and percussive sub-bass are stuck into the beats that make no attempt to follow any other sounds of early-'90s breakbeat-laced dance music. The lightheartedness of This Means Forever sometimes works very well, paying homage the tenets of dance culture in a Cylob-esque romp. But the jokes are sometimes confusing and unwelcome—although most of the breakcore genre pokes fun at junglist and rave culture, overly-cartoony samples on "Shaken" and "Amrcrd Gold" detract from some of the dark and energetic soul on "Glassy Eyes" and "Soundboy". It's also in that overt wackiness where Drop the Lime follows the approach of Tigerbeat6 founder Kid606 a little too closely.

“Soundboy’s” lyrical throwdown "Soundboy surrender / soundboy get down / this is the new champion sound around" picks up on some of the best aspects of hip-hop diss tracks while managing to stay away from feeling nerdy or sarcastic. "Driveway Hiders" is a soulful two-minute song sans spastic programming, and it threatens more than any other track on This Means Forever to emerge as a single. Venezia sings melodically over detuned synth-strings, and a docile hi-hat builds towards a climax that never really comes, letting the song trail off ominously. Venezia couldn't be blamed if he pursued this widely palatable side of his work in future releases.

Most of the elements used to build This Means Forever are nothing new, but the mood that Venezia creates with his vocals, meticulously applied reverb, and far-off production is a bit more epic than anything else that's come before it in breakcore. The best way to experience Drop the Lime, however, is still live: Venezia sings passionately, jumping around and terrorizing the microphone in a way that's foreign to most of the laptop performance world. He manages to put as much energy into live programming as he does into his vocalizing, hitting keys and turning knobs with a passion that's easy for anyone to understand. Even those with a powerful aversion to this kind of music can tell that Venezia is earnestly putting everything he's got into his music, something almost unheard of among his peers.

By Trent Wolbe

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