Q Electronics / Quintron

Drum Buddy Demonstration, Vol. 1

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The analog manifesto on the inside may or may not be real -- it's certainly impassioned enough -- but no justification is needed for fun, and that's what this engagingly silly little album is. Quintron has enough fun doing his own thing, to be sure, and Drum Buddy Demonstration, Vol. 1 is no different. The Buddy itself is an instrument of Quintron's invention -- as pictured on the front cover, it looks to be somewhere between a theremin and a scratching turntable for Edison cylinders -- and it's used and abused in order to create a series of messy and entertaining little fragments. Its sound is very intentionally primitive and muffled at many points, but not wholly -- ear-piercing treble parts have just as much of a place as rumbling psuedo-drums. There's as much hip-hop (at one point Quintron flatly introduces the booty track "Scratch" with the words "This is the scratch oscillator with a Miami background") in the songs as there is hi-fi/lounge revivalism, and there's plenty of the latter. The CD is packaged to indeed look like a demonstration record from the 1950s, and many of the tracks are introduced in deadpan fashion to show off the instrument's capabilities, including a bemusing reinterpretation of "In the Hall of the Mountain King." Thus there are tracks baldly titled "Kick" and "Ride/Low Bass," which are essentially just that. Sometimes Quintron's voice is straightforward enough, other times it's swathed in huge bass reverb, maintaining the pose of the just mad enough scientist introducing his work patiently, talking about beat creation with the earnest but controlled demeanor of a mid-century middle-school science teacher. It's almost as if DJ Shadow decided to give up being a b-boy, sold all his vinyl, and could only make music in a back room somewhere -- and why not? Best "guest" appearance -- MC Trachiotomy.

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