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DJ /rupture - Minesweeper Suite

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Artist: DJ /rupture

Album: Minesweeper Suite

Label: Tigerbeat6

Review date: Oct. 3, 2002

Mixing and Mashing

Mix CDs made by DJs are a tricky art. They are an attempt to encapsulate the energy of a live performance without the benefit of a crowd – an otherwise essential element. A good DJ pays attention to the audience, gauges its reactions, and manipulates its mood. But in the studio, the producer can little more than guess at these things. On the other end, the listener can only be surprised once by an unexpected scratch or the inclusion of a weird and rare track. A live mix is exciting because it’s spontaneous and ephemeral, where the permanence of a prerecorded album demands repeated listens and attention to detail. All too often, DJs who create mix CDs make them without thinking about these transparent and fundamental differences.

When a mix CD stands out, it does so because the DJ takes advantage of the nuance of the studio as well as the art of live mixing. This review pertains to DJ/rupture’s Minesweeper Suite, which I suggest is an example of a successful mix CD.

Kid606’s mashed-up masterpiece The Action Packed Mentalist Brings you the Fucking Jams was an important record, and if you’ve heard it, you already have a notion of DJ/rupture’s first album for Tigerbeat6. Underground and mainstream hip-hop, noisy techno, dub, jazz, and all manner of international dance music are thoughtfully and mercilessly crammed into one chaotic hour. True eclecticism is the end game; he/she wins who can make the canon of dance music the most inclusive and surprising. In this respect, DJ/rupture surpasses 606, hands down. What Minesweeper Suite lacks in a mischievous and ironic sense of humor, it makes up for in magnitude and detail. rupture uses three turntables, post-production, and sixty records in an intricate mix with enough minutiae to make it impossible to absorb in one sitting. He has gone beyond making stale pop music interesting through re-combination, to the point where he has written an epic musical novel.

The characters are culled from all over time and space: Nina Simone, Donna Summer, Foxy Brown, Aaliyah, Mutamassik, Dat Politics, Cutty Ranks, Mahmoud Fadi. The revelation that one inevitably comes away with after hearing Minesweeper, is that they all fit. Or at least that given the right amount of creative interpretation, they can fit.

And that’s the basic concept. But be advised, this is also a very noisy record. Again, a la Kid606, the bass is often exaggerated as though it were coming out of cheap car speakers at maximum volume, and layers of degraded fuzz prop up some of the songs. The more frantic the mixing, the more distorted the assault, and the more insane it all gets. Track 18 purports to only be two songs, Rotator’s “Trash ‘n Ready,” and DJ Scud’s “Discipline of D.E.”, but the resultant cacophony sounds like at least ten records being trampled by elephants.

rupture’s work should be a blueprint for well-intentioned DJs bent on making a compelling studio mix. This is a fucked up album that you can enjoy right away and that will continue to reward you indefinitely if you keep playing it. Minesweeper Suite is never for one moment in danger of falling into the characteristic mix CD trap, and may even be the album to pull others out.

By Ben Tausig

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