DJ Spooky

Creation Rebel

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One of those rare remix albums that exceeds expectations, DJ Spooky's Creation Rebel is a "Re-Mixed, Re-Visioned, and Re-Versioned" journey through the Trojan Records vaults with the experimental maverick bringing the spirit of the legendary reggae label into the laptop age. Spooky may add modern beats, hip-hop influenced scratching, and other manipulations only possible with computers, but what makes this album so special is how Trojan the whole thing sounds, as if the label was jettisoned into the future with all their dirty six-foot bass cabinet charm intact. By opening with the same Mad Professor sample the Orb used for their chillout room classic "Blue Room," Spooky immediately connects the dots between electronica and Jamaican music, making the same argument he introduced in 2003 with Dubtometry and then continued in 2006 with In Fine Style, his unmixed Trojan compilation. In the liner notes, Creation Rebel features another essay by Spooky that relates modern sampling and turntablism to the Jamaican style of borrowing riddims along with the sound system culture of early dancehall. His insight is well appreciated and thought provoking, but the richest reward here is the music. Whether the DJ is shaking the rafters with an especially aggressive mix of "Under Mi Sleng Teng." or slowing down Michael Rose's voice DJ Screw style for hallucinatory effect, everything works. With its infectious beat and air horn blasts the celebratory remix of "Soul Rebel" creates a feeling of a future dancehall session, while the usually slick "No No No" from Dawn Penn gets wonderfully disheveled with grimy bass, making its story of heartbreak sound all the more desperate. Mutabaruka's dub poetry is absolutely at home on top of the two trippy soundscapes Spooky lays underneath, and if you don't think a remixer could do something amazing with just a couple knob adjustments and a Marley a cappella, you're gravely mistaken. Whether or not Spooky is referencing producer Adrian Sherwood and his Creation Rebel project with the title, he does share Sherwood's skill for making Jamaican influenced music that's both otherworldly and intoxicating. Spooky's Creation Rebel begins where Sherwood's left off and forward-thinking reggae fans couldn't ask for more.

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