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The Agriculture grows two excellent new mixes

January 26, 2010 |  5:27 pm

Slrcoverhi DEADBEAT_PROMO_COVER We rarely go out of our way to congratulate Brooklyn-based musicians in these pages (they do enough of that themselves). But I have to hand it to the Agriculture, a Brooklyn label focused on out-there permutations of Jamaican dub run through Berlin techno, spazzy global pop and pirate radio crackle. They've put out two fantastic mixes that are a couple of the most sufficient party-in-a-box albums to cross my desk lately.

The first is "Solar Life Raft," a collaboration between DJ Rupture (who, not uncoincidentally, penned one of my favorite pieces of recent music writing) and Matt Shadetek. The record somehow finds space on the same shelf for mind-melt reggae from Jahdan Blakkamoore and Stagga's fractured dubstep as well as Luc Ferrari's noise sculpture and Gang Gang Dance's passport-stamp freakouts. Listening to "Solar Life Raft," you won't know whether to take pills and dance madly in a darkened room, write a dissertation on sonic-diaspora politics or strip to your skivvies and run through the spray from a broken fire hydrant.

"Radio Rothko," a collection of dubby techno compiled by the Canadian DJ Deadbeat, is by contrast about as pristine and focused a mix as electronica has seen lately. Rooted in the brittle, faded synth arpeggios and mechanized kick drums of the '90s Berlin duo Basic Channel, the mix ebbs along through Monolake's bleary subway-funk and 2562's creaky head-nods, while Basic Channel's phosphorescent throb binds it all together. The ever-articulate Philip Sherburne contributes some great liner notes, so I'll pass it off to him in saying it's "...a cold, reverberant thrum. The pulse of dub reggae running through Japanese-built machinery, filters frothing; the room tone suggestive of nothing so much as the untold empty structures in the recently-reunified city."

-- August Brown

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