Bullion

You Drive Me to Plastic

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

Bullion is West London sample-slinger Nathan Jenkins, who first turned heads with 2007's Beach Boys/J Dilla-blending Pet Sounds: In the Key of Dee, a rare instance of an album-length mash-up project that more than rewarded its blatantly gimmicky premise. Since then, he's issued a couple of tantalizing singles and one EP; You Drive Me to Plastic is his debut for Young Turks (SBTRKT, El Guincho, Holy Fuck) and at least on some level, his first "proper" release. It's essentially presented as an album, although at nine quick cuts in a maddeningly brief 20 minutes, it hovers in a grey zone between LP and EP. That's appropriate enough, since the Plastic also resists classification on just about every level: there may be aspects of disco, funk, hip-hop, acid jazz, old-school electro, chillout, and cosmic psychedelia (and more: bluegrass fiddles? flamenco guitar? tribal chanting? whinnying horses?) all present and accounted for, but it still feels erroneous to describe this music in terms of genre at all, beyond the broad umbrella category of "sample-based music." Despite his omnivorous, unabashedly maximalist approach -- and although he sometimes resembles a more soulful, less spastic Jason Forrest -- Bullion's musical aesthetic has less to do with the past decade or so of ADD-addled, digital mash-up mischief than with pioneers like Coldcut, Steinski, and, in particular, the Avalanches. Similar to their still-unparalleled Since I Left You, probably Plastic's closest point of reference, this is effectively one single piece of music; a fluid, constantly fluctuating kaleidoscopic suite that meanders from sound to sound and groove to groove with enviable smoothness. Each cut remains distinct -- "Magic Was Ruler" and "Pressure to Dance," for instance, stand out as the obvious dancefloor-primed pleasers -- but the whole is much more than than the sum of its countless, unpredictable, intricately interwoven parts. Impeccably seamless, surprisingly listener-friendly (as dense and volatile as it is, it never feels truly overwhelming), You Drive Me to Plastic is above all playful, inventive and fun.

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