Jason Forrest

Shamelessly Exciting

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Jason Forrest's brilliant The Unrelenting Songs of the 1979 Post Disco Crash announced Forrest to the electronic masses as the new king of sample-tronica, and while it can't replicate the shock to the system that Unrelenting provided, his follow-up, Shamelessly Exciting, is just as impressive a record and just as full of dazzling technical and musical achievements. In fact, it is a perfect follow-up record, giving plenty of what you loved about the previous record but tweaking it enough to keep things exciting and fresh. As with Unrelenting, it is a blast throughout to play "find the sample" and marvel at the skill and dexterity Forrest uses to fit them together. Check the ease with which he turns his 36 favorite punk songs into "My 36 Favorite Punk Songs," the little riff fragments and occasional shouts blending into a storming electro-punk track. Or check "Dreaming and Remembering," a track that manages to melt '70s soft rock, disco and hardcore techno into a glittering treasure. Forrest is less apt to sample AOR references; he's gone the soft-rock route this time digging into Gary Wright, Gerry Rafferty (with a cool mashed-up "Baker Street" sample on "Skyrocket Saturday" [an awe-inspiring track that also features a cameo by the hook from Starbuck's "Moonlight Feels Right"]) and Seals & Crofts, among others. The whole record is filled with these head-shaking moments of wonder, as on "New Wave Folk Austerity" (which somehow manages to sample both Yes and Blondie and make it work), the thundering "War Photographer" (which features chopped up Blood, Sweat & Tears samples), the foundation-shaking, slide-guitar workout "Storming Blues Rock" and the surprisingly gentle and sweet electro-pop ballad with lyrics penned and sung by one-time fellow WFMU DJ (and alt-country goddess) Laura Cantrell. "Nightclothes and Headphones" is a tribute to the late John Peel that gives the album some soul and depth and captures the feeling of being enraptured by the radio perfectly. "Evil Doesn't Exist Anymore" closes the album on a dramatic, epic-length note with guest vocals by Maja Solveig Kjelstrup Ratkje, who unleashes Björk-on-Red Bull voices over a thumping, clattering beat and a melody that sounds like the funeral march of a Eastern European dictator. It is a bracing and satisfying way to bring Shamelessly Exciting, an album that truly lives up to its billing, to a close. You will find yourself playing this record over and over, hipping your friends to it and generally wishing everyone else with samplers had as much imagination as Forrest.

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