Music News

DJ Assault

As a result of its de-genderizing baggy pants aesthetic and sometimes not-so-tangential connection to the drug Ecstasy, the rave movement has generally downplayed and even ignored the inherent sexuality of dance music. Techno and its often disembodied variants, though, were not able to fully subvert the shallow lustfulness inherited from disco. Like all fundamental urges pushed into repression, the nastiness of club music had to break through in unexpected and even offensive manifestations. The most explicit incarnation of club fare's lost libido is ghetto tech, an exclusively Detroit inbreeding of electrofunk drum machine patterns, early techno's melodic parts, wobbly jungle bass lines, and aggressively politically incorrect rap lyrics inherited from Miami Bass.

Ghetto tech tracks are crudely produced, simplistically conceived, obnoxiously repetitive, and so damn fast that only sporadic twitching can approximate their hypermechanized rhythms. Because of these stylistic quirks, such records are only experienced properly (or enjoyably) in the hands of a dexterous ghetto tech DJ, one of the Detroit-only fraternity who try to slam as many cuts into a set as possible. Here, DJ Assault rips through some 83; right before you've tired of a vocal loop of "Where my dogs at/Where my hustlers at" (which for most people seems to be about 30 seconds), the next song comes rumbling in. Assault is especially known for pitching his records up as fast as they will go, which transforms the voices into chipmunk praises of big booties, motel rendezvous and polo shirts.

Of course, this gold-toothed, malt-liquor-swilling misinterpretation of the rave experience will not appeal to everyone. Assault's own outlandishly infectious production "Ass and Titties," for instance, usually weeds out all but the most non-literalist of feminists. The polarizing effect of the lyrics is a shame, though, since many of the instrumentals underneath are the most inventive and immediately effective party tunes of the past few years. If you're interested in trying out ghetto tech, Off the Chain for the Y2K is the best place to start. Assault keeps the mix varied by inserting a few Motor City techno evergreens (Juan Atkins' "No UFOs" and "Alley of Your Mind"), snippets of jungle, and humorous interludes from a player-hating DJ who calls up to complain he's not getting paid. Not to worry if you're still hesitant -- the inevitable female-friendly backlash variation can't be far off.

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Darren Keast