Heh heh heh.

And believe it or not, despite my own initial comment on this thread, it’s not just about the personal satisfaction of finding JC Chavez can work a solo thing better than A Certain Someone Else…though obviously that’s part of it. But it’s also how Basement Jaxx can trump the Neptunes, or at least Pharell. Chad I’m finally warming to, not merely because he’s been ignored (hey, underdog and all that) but because the Kenna album was so great and all. But to the subject at hand — I’ve always preferred Timbaland to the Neptunes and the last few years haven’t changed my take on it. They both have signature sounds, they both tweak them as needed, they both try different things to keep themselves fresh and more power to them, but Timbaland just always works for me where the Neptunes don’t as much — the occasional song, yes, but I prefer those mysterious spaces and absences in Timbaland’s work to the flatness of the Neptunes, the suggestion that there’s something else there but not present that you fill in with your mind.

Basement Jaxx prefer to operate on a completely different level to Timbaland, equal but opposite — for space, filling in all blanks, reworking Motorhead to say ‘every track more noticeable than every other one.’ Kish Kash deserves all the praise it’s been getting because even if it’s ultimately exhausting — like their other albums, somewhere around the halfway mark it becomes an artificial high that really means one should turn it off and come back to it later — it’s exhausting not merely at full speed but in full colour and several tongues at once. So it starts off with that low bass crawl and crisp drum bits and it could almost just be something from Wax Trax circa 1988 if you squint, then there’s that squirrelly synth bit and Chasez screams and suddenly sashays in and darn it’s all very pleasant. And then all of a sudden Chasez busts out the Prince falsetto and:


Hell, I can’t describe the chorus, it’s one of those ‘2 + 2 = 4, no it REALLY does!’ moments. Have robots been so funky in years? All I can think of is a remake of Krush Groove or something.

Vocoder voices and wails take over the quieter break like a whispering spirit, though every second or so you can hear the arrangement poking through, it all flings back into That Insane Chorus, it suddenly reverses and flings itself forward, then Chasez disappears into swirls of echo or goes and snorts some coke or whatever while the backing singer dispenses with him, and THEN the next synth melody starts. Followed by at least two more. The beat, of course, continues.

And yes, that “Lucky Star” number is good too and all.