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V/A - Famous When Dead 5

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Artist: V/A

Album: Famous When Dead 5

Label: Playhouse

Review date: Aug. 13, 2007

The fifth installment of Playhouse's roster-surveying report seems designed to flaunt consistency. Not quite a mix - no singular authorial DJ manning the stitches - it is nonetheless all sown together into a single, long-playing expanse of static cling and crunchy clang, each track flowing into another like interlocking conveyer belts. While the last Famous When Dead concluded with Rework all bleary-eyed and bed-headed, here they commence number V with cold, mechanic might. Their "Love Love Love Yeah" opens the disc with the ramblings of a few girls in wasted repose as they talk over one another in stoned musings while sitar-streaked percussion fizzles in the background. But the Super-8 grain converts to HD gloss as Rework trigger a crisp, sharp strut and some reverb-beaded jiggling bass. Ornamented with small squeals of rocket fire and strobing color, its core is a bobbing bassline that's all short jabs and sharp uppercuts. The group's Sascha Hedgehog chews blase mantras ("love's fucking cheap" being one of the few intelligible examples) and mumbles the song's nominal refrain, which sounds intermittently like a bunch of "blahs" or calls for "blood blood blood."

Smash TV's Holger Zilske collaborates with Dave DK for "Mono Rain," which crashes and splashes like some tantalizing Ellen Allien demo, an ethereal spume of distortion that lingers like crinkling interference. Einzelkind strips the palette to a bouncing bump and the gasps, crunches, burps and giggles of their "Spam Bot." After two minutes booting-up, the creature jerks along to a clipped thump that whisks away hi-hat shimmers and squeegees melted metals. Sherburne favorite "La Forza Del Destino" from Roman Flugel's Soylent Green deploys a glob of gooey electricity that randomly solidifies into an annoyed synth, buzzsawing through a sand-crackling shuffle. But the pre-determined "hit" of Famouse When Dead V is likely Simon Baker's "Plastik," a cosmic cluster of laserium arpeggios, hissing spouts of gargled nebulae. But its Pete Lazonby's "I Miss U" that brandishes the most vividly warped assortment of timbres and rhythms. A spine-tingling, silvery yawn punctuates a swirl of pops, blips, and splats frittered in chrome.

"The Siren" from Swiss obscurity UnknownmiX, featuring Ernst Thoma on electronics and Guru Guru/Harmonia drummer Mani Neumeier, is given a perfunctory polish by LoSoul. Nervy dada pop, equal parts shoulder-pads, sharp angles and jittery piano vamps, it stands out as the disc's most jarring inclusion - a Ze Records mutant in a land of recombinant androids. But Rework return Famous When Dead to default settings with "Jogging Beat." A tiny flicker keeps time as glassy synth bubbles chime and eventually burst, sending flaccid plastic on shrieking curlicues. Only a subtle, well-thumbed bassline tugs thing along in a steady tow.

Isolée, perhaps standing in as the sole Playhouse on-call visionary for a noticeably absent Villalobo, he who broke off from the motherland on his own continent-sized Fizheuer Zieheur, delivers a dizzying corkscrew in zero gravity fizz with "The Jacko Theme." Its hypnotic properties are most pronounced when set against comp closer "Southern Comfort" from My My. Its broken acoustic guitar and clumps of trembling strings contrast with Isolée's synthetic tingles, a bid of bedroom opulence that makes for a curious epilogue to some seriously astral voyaging. But other than this clashing juxtaposition - not to mention aberrant UnknownmiX - Famous When Dead V efficiently unfolds, track by track. That they have been mostly culled from assorted sides certainly speaks to Playhouse's pervasive caliber.

By Bernardo Rondeau

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