Various Artists

Kitty Yo Int. 2002.02

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Original home of techno/post-rock line walkers To Rococo Rot and Tarwater, Berlin's Kitty-Yo has seen an upsurge of popularity as of late, mostly due to the introduction of electro hip-hoppers Peaches and Gonzales. This compilation is chock-full of low-wave raps that are filthy, catchy, and hilarious. Newcomer Taylor Savvy holds his own with Gonzales, while 1950s Austrian crooner Louie Austen makes the sort of comeback Tom Jones dreams about, pairing with Peaches and Patrick Pulsinger on "Grab My Shaft," which mixes slutty lounge vocals with a Grade-A electro shuffle. But just because Kitty-Yo has found itself at the forefront of a particularly fashionable trend doesn't mean that the label is tossing aside the more indie-electronic fare that has been its bread and butter for almost a decade. Mainstay Laub makes a mandatory appearance with "Morgen," a track that falls comfortably between the group's inconsistent pop-based output and singer Antye Greie-Fuchs' experiments with digital vocal editing for the Orthlorng Musork record label, the results being one of Laub's better works to date. Straying the farthest from the electronic fodder is Maximilian Hecker, who sounds like a slightly less histrionic Bono. The stuff that's really going to get this compilation over is the hip-hop -- and in a more perfect world, Gonzales' "Insanity" would knock Eminem out of MTV rotation. But it's the diversity that will keep Kitty-Yo in the game for another ten years.

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