Ben Wa

Disciples of Retro-Tech

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Bay Area duo Ben Wa landed in 1998 with the critically acclaimed Devil Dub, an electro-dub extravaganza that featured Buckethead, M.I.R.V., and DJ Disk. Now the Wa auteurs, also known as Dr. Ware and Butthouse, have dived into '70s funk, early hip-hop, and Prince's back catalog with their techno and big beat sensibilities firmly in place. The hybrid mix is so inventive that suspect pastiche and old-school chic absolutely do not figure into it; these are stellar dancefloor grooves, with plenty of high-end architecture to keep those sidelined by clubland's audio-visual overload happy, too. From Tuva singers to Quincy Jones' Sanford and Son theme, the duo tastefully grafts their samples onto expertly conceived long-players full of re-imagined Chemical Brothers beats and Kraftwerk-style sonic textures; a bit of acid jazz and house get stirred in as well. Tracks aside, any outfit who can pay homage to sex toys (the band's name) and land a live gig with original dub mixer Scientist (they're big fans) certainly demands at least a listen.

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