Plastilina Mosh - Juan Manuel
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Plastilina Mosh
Juan Manuel

After having semi-tapped out the French market with Daft Punk, Air, the Respect Is Burning compilations, Astralwerks heads West a bit to Spain for this, their newest wacky musical hybrid. When I say wacky, I mean it too. Plastilina Mosh does everything from cheesy vocodored techno to trip-hop, to sassy salsa flavored numbers and nearly everything in between. It's a pretty damn varied affair, but it's also one that fortunately works most of the time. Produced by Beta Band member Chris Allison and the always solid Money Mark, there are old school keyboards, pumping beats, and plenty of cheesy sounds.

The album actually starts out wearing it's eclecticism on its sleeve. "Nordic Laser" is a fairly standard rock instrumental with keyboards and pianos (as well as a good deal of tape hiss), but it's quick and jaunty and leads things in nicely to the bit of retro wank in "Boombox Baby." While one may expect it to be a track that relates to hip-hop or rap, the group instead drops references to both funk and disco lyrically and if one can imagine such a thing, the track actually sounds like a musical hybrid of the two without offending too much.

Things change up a lot on the very next track as they melt into thick, slower beats and the track "Shampoo" starts out with a muffled and sexy answering machine message before falsetto vocals (in Spanish, as much of the release is) start crooning over the smooth music. "Tiki Fiesta" takes a bit of island music and melds it to something with a bit more groove, while the very next track "Human Disco Ball" absolutely slams with about a 120 bpm and oddly effected vocals that should have made it one of the biggest cheeseball singalong dancefloor tracks of the year.

They bring back that thick vocodor effect again on the track "Baretta '89" and while it could have been annoying, they work a slow, building groove with the more rock oriented track and it's once again pretty darn cool. There are a couple things that just don't work among it all, including the screamed verse vocals of "Bassass (International Stereo)" after the chill robotic chorus and the semi-crunchy guitars and stereophonic layered vocals of "Supercombo Electronico." Of course, the album closes out on a really strong note with the updated blaxsploitation funk of "Saint Tropez Is Not Far" and the goofy keyboard/barnyard sound effects track of "Good Bye Happy Farm" (that sounds like it was pulled from an outtake of a Money Mark album). While the album is all over the place, actually Money Mark is a pretty good reference point in terms of some of the sounds on the disc (which should be no surprise since he produced the release) as well as influences from all kinds of other genres and artists. It's bilingual wacky music that doesn't take itself too seriously, which is a pretty darn big compliment by itself.

rating: 710
Aaron Coleman 2003-06-19 00:00:00