Chrissy Murderbot Women's Studies
Reviewed by Andrew Gaerig Source: (Pitchfork)
Chrissy Murderbot is your friendly neighborhood Diplo: a pan-global dance synthesist who believes that backing an entire four-minute track with a looping police siren is a good idea. Unlike Diplo or even Girl Talk, though, Chrissy isn't interested in connecting his genre obsessions with modern North American hip-hop or R&B, meaning Women's Studies features no hint of pop crossover. It's the difference between believing something like dancehall deserves a wider audience and believing dancehall is just really fucking cool.
Chrissy cut his teeth on rave, and Women's Studies bears the marks of 1990s dance culture: airhorns abound, as do the skittering 180-bpm rush of drum & bass and hi-NRG's gloriously tasteless synths. Genres are important to Murderbot (he's behind the outstanding yearofmixtapes.blogspot.com, a site that featured a micro-genre DJ mix every week for a year); he's not interested in perfectly melding his influences into the Chrissy Murderbot Sound™. When he blows an airhorn, he wants you to think of glowsticks, or at least to think of an iPhone glowstick app (you're welcome). The video for lead single "Bussin Down", which features Murderbot and DJ Spinn playing a dance-battle version of Street Fighter, isn't exactly coy about Murderbot's 90s-culture fanaticism.
The Chicago-based Murderbot has been an early, vocal advocate for Footwork. He's curates an excellent monthly dance party (Loose Squares, also the name of a label he's putting together) that regularly features Footwork and juke legends on the decks. Women's Studies borrows those hypnotic samples and Dance Mania's ruff vulgarity and is Murderbot's most focused work almost by default. Naturally he's not content simply mimicking, so he sets Footwork against cheesy lounge-jazz ("Bussin' Down"), or late-90s Warp skittering ("Jiggle"). Not only is Murderbot not above deliciously boilerplate dance mantras, they're basically his wheelhouse. Tracks "The Vibe Is So Right" and "U Got Me Burnin Up (Club Cirque)" fit him so well because he's so eager and utterly unashamed.
The flip side to any discussion about how much energy Chrissy brings is how much energy it takes to listen to him. Women's Studies is relentlessly uptempo, and Murderbot's idea of a pop hook is Warrior Queen's heavily accented, aggressive cadence. The vocals and guests sometimes feel tacked-on, perhaps in deference to original scenes and styles. (Even on a party record you know you're in trouble when Johnny Moog is dropping lines like, "What seperates me from y'all lames is I'm like Young Jeezy." Oh. That's what.)
It's easy to be cynical about this kind of musical colonialism, but Murderbot is effectively a man without a genre/country, and besides, he approaches his source material with nothing but love. I finally feel like he's gotten a bit lucky, with his most recent fascination (Footwork) coinciding with a rise in that fascination's profile. Women's Studies is a tiring listen by design, and its 43-minute runtime is the only bone thrown at the listener. Murderbot could conceivably do more to smooth out his productions, but what he wants to do is duct-tape his record collection together and find pleasure at the resulting contraption. If you share his obsessions-- or are merely curious about them-- you're invited to smile and dance with him.
- Eskmo - Let Them Sing
- Ikonika - Smuck
- Geiom & Shortstuff - No Hand Signals
- Starkey - OK Luv
- Raffertie - 7th Dimension
- Ceephax Acid Crew - United Acid Emirates
- Kuedo - Dream Sequence E.P.
- Starkey - Ephemeral Exhibits
- Neil Landstrumm - Lord For £39
- Distance - Repercussions
- Last Step - 1961
- Mrs Jynx - The Standoffish Cat
- Venetian Snares - My Downfall (Original Soundtrack)
- Meat Beat Manifesto - Autoimmune
- iTAL tEK - Cyclical
- Mary Anne Hobbs - Evangeline
- Venetian Snares - Miss Balaton
- Various Production & Virus Syndicate - Apollo/Neva Argue
- Sunken Foal - Fermented Condiments
- Sunken Foal - Fallen Arches
- Venetian Snares - Detrimentalist
- The Gasman - Superlife
- Eero Johannes - Eero Johannes
- Virus Syndicate - Sick Pay