Rockers Hi-Fi

DJ-Kicks: The Black Album

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The Black Album sees Rockers Hi-Fi holed up in Birmingham, England, partaking in a mix and match with stacks of dub, trip-hop, and drum'n'bass albums for their contribution to Stud!o K7's DJ-Kicks series. At turns exhilarating and at other turns frustrating, The Black Album is the kind of album that one can't simply play at any hour of the day. It begs for a beach party atmosphere or at least for some kind of exotic cocktails to be on hand. The overall feel is one of cinematic dub. If the original tracks weren't spicy enough for the Rockers' intentions, they merely tweaked in their own reverb, flanges, and echoes. Bouncy, storming beats threaten to develop at any given moment. Samples from Reefer Madness develop from the ether of Electric J's "Varispeed." One imagines a spaced-out Lee Scratch Perry sitting in a corner, nodding his head in approval, especially when the Rockers blend in Terminalhead & Mr Spee's "Twisted System." There's one element that is going to make or break the album for individual listeners, and it comes in the form of Farda P's master of ceremonies chat. Farda P's running commentary sometimes matches the tracks quite well, but it also takes numerous ridiculous turns, where he's babbling this or that about the greatness of Rockers Hi-Fi or simply shouting "murder." Mixing tracks from a broad range of contributors, from indie singer/songwriter Lida Husik to jungle king T.Power to Riz Maslen's dub IDM project Small Fish With Spine, The Black Album is an eclectic affair. Though Mish-Mash is a better starting point, The Black Album is a smart, thrilling ride into the minds and record collection of Rockers Hi-Fi.

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