Milk Cult

Project M-13

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If the liner notes are to be believed -- and apparently it really happened -- Milk Cult was contacted by the French government to participate in a Marseille-based art collective in 1997. Not to turn this down, the trio decamped to France, worked with a wide variety of musicians in the collective -- from singers and guitarists to violinists and accordion players -- and some years later released Project M-13 from the sessions. Following the equally guest-laden Burn or Bury as it did, Project M-13 isn't a sudden surprise or change on the band's part; if anything, it's a great extension of the band's aesthetic, with the rough, chugging hip-hop and breaks the trio create as the basis for a wide range of sonic experiments. There isn't a French influence per se in all the songs, which blend together to create one overall disc-long piece, but at points one can clearly hear the combination between Milk Cult's feedback distortion and beats and the sometimes-playful vocal chants and instrumental frills and flourishes from the Gallic participants. Serge Gainsbourg might have been amused by some of the end results, and there's a natural fluidity to the compositions that renders them neither here nor there in the map of world music, as the fractured industrial/funk growl "Pate Pipe Bomb" shows. Elsewhere, as on the weird and wonderful drug-movie-theme song "Martini Boat" or the equally splashy "Detroit Disco Cop," the sense is that '70s police shows never quite died away. Other highlights include "Slink-Fest," which adds a snippet from a dramatic and rather creepy retelling of the David and Goliath story for unsettled impact, and "Network Epilogue," with some fierce, piercing funk guitar adding to the sleazy, atmospheric beats to produce a great soundtrack to an unmade crime drama.

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