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baron zen - At The Mall
Stones Throw pitch a curveball and release a lo-fi punk record. What? You don’t believe me? it’s the truth, I promise guv. This oddity in a largely unblemished catalogue is an archival release of 20 year old tracks from label boss Peanut Butter Wolf’s old band (he was the beat programmer) and has him on a twisted pop tip. Covering Katrina and The Waves’ classic ‘Walkin on Sunshine’ and Joy Division’s ‘Walked The Line’ and placing them alongside their own punky noise-laden originals, this is a record which shares much with Ariel Pink, and bears only tenuous links to hiphop at all. Touted as putting the record somewhere between PiL and DFA, this does indeed bear some relation to punk funk, but the way in which it is made totally destroys any chance they might have of winning over the Vice-reading Toni & Guy casualty crowd. Drifting shrouds of noise cover the melodies and the shouting is obscured by feedback and malcontent tape loops – the Wolf and co. were obviously way ahead of their time here but I can’t help but think this is a bit unnecessary. A mixed success.