Jimpster is still out there doing it. Likewise his Freerange label, and now it’s even releasing material by questionable young men from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, whom politeness prevents me from mentioning. Scrambled is a DJ mix, which was released on Shadow Records. In its prime this now defunct label was an excellent destination for that beautiful, yet sadly short-lived, point where hip-hop beats collided with electronic dance floor music. Isn’t hip-hop electronic dance music anyway? Yes, it is, but culturally there is a little gulf that keeps them apart.
Labels like Ninja Tune, which Shadow Records partnered with for a few years, bridged this gulf splendidly, and in clubs all over the globe — especially in San Francisco — hip-hop beats, DJ techniques and imagery blended splendidly with house, drum n bass and other genres. It was a heady, optimistic time that got lost in the Bush era. Scrambled is a nice reminder of when the funk flowed freestyle. Search it out in used bins and online.
Jimpster Presents Scrambled
When it’s time to work off the boredom of your workday it’s always nice to fill your play time with impossibly funky grooves that rotate your hips and head at the same time. Jimpster (Jamie Odell) does just this with selections from his label, Freerange Records, as this compilation sees him mixing up some of its finest pelvis-dislocating moments. There is a strong percussive element and blinding flashes of harmony in all the tracks. High-flying Moog synthesizer solos flow over rolling beats and emotive keyboard chords, while Jimpster splices humorous voice samples in between tracks, making this collection fun, rather than generic or self-indulgent.
Yennah’s “Dyadic Shift” and Audiomontage’s “Snert” (under Odell’s other alias), have a distinct early-’80s disco feel. While the opening track, Human Technology’s “Gate,” gets down and dirty like the best NY hip-hop (read A Tribe Called Quest), Audiomontage’s “Barracuda” and Jimpster’s “Wildlight” come on like cyber Latin music, the kind of tune notable drum ‘n’ bass artist LTJ Bukem would make with Tania Maria or Atrud Gilberto. In all, Scrambled will have you swaying in your cubicle or shaking a tail feather in the club. Chris Orr
(6) Yennah – “Dyadic Shift (Audiomontage Remix)
(7) Audiomontage – “Snert”
(8) Audiomontage – “Abyss”
If You Like This, Try:
*Marsama – Signals (Freerange/UK)
*Yennah – Red Noise (Freerange/UK)