The Scumfrog

Extended Engagement

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Drawing on his traditional jazz and classical education and rolling that structure up under the aegis of Nile Rodgers and Bernie Edwards-era funk, the best of Trevor Horn's '80s, and a hundred other sounds besides, Jesse Houk -- better known as the Scumfrog -- has created a pounding, thumping, thrumming virtual club across the double-disc Extended Engagement. A tight combination of Scumfrog remixes and productions, always reveling within the deepest beats, this musical scholar-cum-musician-cum-DJ-cum-recording artiste practices a flair for classy club that puts others of his ilk to bottom-lip-wobbling shame. It's Houk's attention to genre and groove, and how different sounds meld, that makes Engagement such a marvelous spin. From Milk & Honey's opening "You, Me & the Music" to his own deep tribal "Learning to Fly (Dub)" and on to Planet Funk's "The Switch," there's hardly a moment to breathe. Punctuating an already heady experience are two songs that will be familiar to the layman -- the outstanding remix of Bowie's "Loving the Alien" (which Bowie liked so much that a brand new video was made) and the thrumming remix of Dirty Vegas' club staple "As Days Go By." And that's just disc one. The second reels out more of the same, as the Scumfrog explores his Kylie Minogue fantasies across a mix of "Love at First Sight," tackles "On the Floor," and smoothes the groove on the closing "Never Enough." There's an undeniable spark on Extended Engagement, as each song peaks with a crescendo that couldn't possibly be equaled -- until the next one. Organic in ways that most modern electro seems to have forgotten, the Scumfrog is leaps and bounds ahead of the pack, and bringing his eclectic brew of Euro-American dance to the shelves is obviously merely the first leg of his master plan.

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