Most financial and political pundits opine that the 21st century will belong to China. Now, I have nothing against the fine people of China but I can't say that the current regime's mix of oligarchical communism and untrammelled capitalism fills me with much joy. Wouldn't it be better if the dominant political force was tempered by a, how can I say this without offending anyone, a more relaxed culture that takes a less aggressive attitude to life, realising that, as Wittgenstein Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton once sang, we are islands in the stream?
Karaoke Mouse must have had the same idea for their EP, Shanghai Reggae, which is a thick brew of the Far East and the Far Out. The three tracks here are the work of the highly talented Karaoke Tundra, one of the very first unfortunates to appear at CTW, and MMTM, a psychedelic cum experimental cum tropical sound-mangler from Ireland. You lucky people also get to hear three wonderful remixes, should you choose.
To celebrate CTW's new CERN particle collider/media player, and in a bid to get you to download the EP, today I'm recommending double the usual quota of "today, I'm recommending a single track in a bid to get you to download the EP" recommendations. (Ah, the English language - nature's Moebius strip.) First up, I give you:
Banjo Boy, which begins with glitchy, breathy percussion and ends with the same, though somewhere in the middle it turns from beautifully realised minimalist glitch into a jolly, bouncy dance track that got me pogoing up and down. It's a quite stunning piece of electronica.
Secondly, DJ Side, victim of a previous CTW review, has chipped in with a remix, Shanghai Reggae (DJ Side's alternate take). There's nothing special about it except that it's three minutes of pounding hip-hop reggae bliss. Tell your friends about this and watch your Cool rating rise by a factor of Fonz.
The title track itself, Shanghai Reggae, is a reggaeish, ambient blend of Far East city life that features a wonderfully sampled treatment of babies giggling, mangled so as to sound like car horns. (There's a sentence I never thought I'd write.) I've listened to Takže Tak quite a bit and have concluded that it's a beatbox sampling masterclass - rarely will you hear vocal noises manipulated with such dexterity; its Krátkodobá Pamět remix by Watesino passes two minutes pleasantly enough. Michal Mariánek's click 'n' cut remix of Banjo Boy is hypnotically funky, and is a strong contender for the title of "Best Track".
Finally, the undersized album cover picture is a recurrence of my traditional difficulties with inserting images correctly. Tsk. The next hundred years certainly won't be named the CTW Century...
Karaoke Mouse - Shanghai Reggae (link to individual mp3s)
Surreal Madrid netlabel (no "Tip Box" but you could always wear a lobster on your head in gratitude)