DJ Scotch Egg
longside the Gala pie and coleslaw, scotch eggs are a curiously stubborn fixture on the British deli-counter, seemingly impervious to the rising tide of Extra Virgin olive oil and twenty-quid-a-bottle balsamic bubbling up around them. It therefore came as some surprise when the digital marauder DJ Scotch Egg turned out not to be some picnic loving Brit giving an ironic nod to the nation’s Dunkirk diet, but rather a Japanese avant noise monger whose gaff must look like Dante’s Nintendo.
With a Supersize concept concerning a quick sharp 30-day recording window where Shige Ishihara (aka DJ Scotch Egg) ate nothing but Colonel Sanders’ Kentucky Fried Crap, KFC Core is a sensory crippling mid-air pile up of gabba, Gameboys, breakcore, Gameboys, barber-shop quartets, and Gameboys. Although by no means the first artist to bring Nintendo’s finest into the recording studio (with Fan Club Orchestra Japan’s recent 20001 – A Space Odyssey of particular note), Ishihara seems more intent than his peers to harangue the living daylights out of the 8-bit beige box, then lovingly chronicle its subsequent breakdown. Where’s Mario when you need him?
Having left his native Tokyo for London On The Sea (quaintly referred to by locals as ‘Brighton’), Ishihara didn’t sit around getting fat on rock, preferring to fill his time establishing “spazzrock” club nights with Henry Collins (aka Shitmat) and lending his formidable talents to experimental groups including Alger Hiss and Bjorn Bjorn Bjorn Bjorn Bjorn. However, for KFC Core Ishihara has decided to got it alone, donning his Scotch Egg pseudonym in preparation for some serious beat fuckwittery. In a style loosely comparable to that of label mate Romvelope, Ishihara makes wildly frenetic breakcore-esque music that props its ADD tendencies up with pixelated compositions and a keen sense of humour. Barring the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it title track, our first bite of the Egg comes courtesy of “Scotch Chicken”; and what a greasily satisfying gob full it is too. Atop an oscillator ripped 808, “Scotch Chicken” is thoroughly debased and belligerent, with a thundering cacophony of gabba action that could give Alec Empire a run for his mascara. Yet whereas the Digital Hardcore denizens often erred too heavily on a po-faced intensity that made their output unremittingly acerbic, DJ Scotch Egg has a real sense of his ridiculousness which makes the music infectious, intense and gleefully irreverent.
Back in the early 90’s there was a brief trend for UK novelty rave acts to release semi-skimmed acid versions of videogame theme tunes. Unreasonably successful in their day, Ishihara has exhumed this bewildering beast in the strangely melancholic “Tetris Wonderland,” wherein international copy write laws are trampled by Cornelius-style beats and acrobatic organ action. Trading genre references at the drop of a fast-food uniform hat, KFC Core is remorseless; 4/4 Celtic cartoontronica one minute (“Scotch Land”) and a car park barbershop quartet the next (“KFC Song”). When it all works it’s a genuine joy, with the elasticised East London shrug of “Scotch Grime” as good as any acetate currently in rotation at Rinse FM. On the odd occasion Ishihara does get it wrong it tends to be through an erosion of the senses precipitated by the heavier tracts of the album as opposed to any inherent weaknesses in the music itself. You can sometimes over indulge.
Closing with “KFC Orchestra” and some crafty samples of the chain’s ashen-faced staff, DJ Scotch Egg will delight and repel in equal measure. Clever, stupid, and tremendously loud, KFC Core is half an hour of indispensable racket that will come as a proper treat to those in need of instant aural gratification, that doesn’t leave a greasy taste in your mouth afterwards. The absolute antithesis of James Blunt et al, KFC Core is ear splittin’ good. Tuck in!
Reviewed by: Adam Park
Reviewed on: 2005-08-12