MDK - Open Transport
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MDK
Open Transport
(Spymania)

Coming from the label that Squarepusher got his start on, I already had sort of a pre-conceived set of ideas about what I thought Open Transport was going to sound like. Given the fact that I'd also read a review in NME stating that it was a 31-track disc that went all over the board in terms of musical styles and sounds piqued my interest even more. When I found out that MDK supposedly stands for "Murder Death Kill," I knew I had to get my hands on a copy, just to see what the hell was going on.

As you may or not be able to guess, this is definitely a release for those with a short attention span. Not only does Open Transport run 72 minutes worth of music over the course of 31 tracks, but it changes up styles on nearly every track as well. The opening track "Caravan" is a light, pretty piece that feels sort of like a piece that could have come off an old Aphex Twin album spliced together with little interludes of wacky breakbeats. The very next track "We Keep It Tight," sounds like it could have come off a DJ Krush album of some sort with its muted trumpet and thick laid-back beat and samples.

Of course, it doesn't stop there, and soon the album breaks into a 40-second acid track ("Something") and another kicked-back number called "World In Action." Just when you thought it couldn't get any more strange, it takes off into the minute-and-a-half long death metal tech-step crunch of "Die." The guitars at thick and meaty, but there's just enough electronic tomfoolery to remind you that it's not a band called Brutal Death or something of the like. After the skittering breakbeats and fat analog synth (that reminds one very much of a Squarepusher track) of "Big Chill" and the mellow, pretty "Pop Track," the album is only one-third over.

Of course, I don't need to explain any of the other tracks on the disc for you to get the picture that it's a sprawling, musical melting pot. The last 21 tracks on the disc keep up nearly the same pace as the first 10, whether they're spitting out lo-fi, melodious electronic tracks like "Sambaesque," kicking out cheesy, cliche'd tracks like "Ultimate Raver," or dropping cut-n-paste minute-long-madness of "Still With Us." It's kind of a hard disc to listen to because of this reason, but it's also one that will definitely keep you on your toes. Although some of the tracks have slight sound quality problems (possibly just because of the equipment used to create the tracks), nearly all of them are well constructed, and most of them are a lot of fun. If you're a fan of Squarepusher or U-ziq and think you can handle the other crazyness contained within, it might be worth the hunt to find it.

rating: 7.2510
Aaron Coleman 2003-06-19 00:00:00