Wrong Music – Whatever!
aul McCartney once quipped in an NME interview (whilst undoubtedly issuing the peace sign at any passing photographers) that were The Beatles to emerge today they would be musically kindred spirits with the likes of Aphex Twin. Extending this analogy for the purposes of lazy journalism, were the lank-haired Richard D. James still concerned with making the kind of aural bestiality that saw him invent drill & bass (rather than milking the 808 cash-cow in the form of a diminishing Analord series), then he’d probably be at the helm of Wrong Music and their spanking new compilation. Wrong, you see, is the new right.
Clocking in at a whopping thirty tracks, it’s easy to look down at Whatever! and think just that; with even the most dedicated noise mongrel likely to find such a scatter-shot pill hard to swallow. Yet, as with all releases in the V/VM mould, perseverance and a keen sense of the artists collective need to provoke a reaction from you as the listener (i.e. anything but genial) need to be first taken into account before the play button is even fingered.
A quick squiz down the roster of artists involved reveals much about the debouchments coming your way; DJ Psylage, Thighmaster, DJ Fuckin’ Terrible, Powertool Posse… Choc-a-bloc with awkward lexicon and malapropisms galore, Whatever! matches its appellation twattery with a breathless clatter, shoe-horning reedy samples and furnace-blast beats into raucous goblets of cochlea destabilising horror/nourishment (delete as appropriate). Opening with DJ Psylage’s “Murderous Stile” we are treated to a wistful sample about strawberries and cream before a bass-enshrouded swagger of digitally-treated dub-step kicks down the back door and sets about your toy farmyard set. As introductions go, it’s both startlingly brusque and (in retrospect) pretty damn tame.
Belligerent and proud of it, the likes of The Sharon Smith Quartet and “I Want To See Her” (think Cassette Boy in a haunted house), “Everyone Is A Pussy” from Twenty Knives (gobby spunk rock) and Thighmaster’s “Fatty” (essentially someone doing karaoke over Bizarre Inc.’s “I’m Gonna Get You”), all display a serious ADD affliction that perpetually borders on the unlistenable. But therein lies Whatever!’s charm; yes it’s shit, but for some reason it’s good shit. Other examples of this apparent aural necromancy come in the shape of Mully’s frankly baffling gabba re-reading of the Thomas The Tank Engine theme-tune, The Phil Collin’s 3’s punk-hoc “Jerusalem” (aka “Pooey Stick”), DJ Floorclearer’s Vicks Vapour ‘ardcore (“There’s A Wocket in my Pocket”) and Stockport’s finest V/VM getting gurgely on ‘I Predict A Rot.”
Yet to cast Whatever! as an entirely stentorian affair would be both flippant and erroneous, possessing as it does moments of beatific calm amongst the slurry of knee-capped digitalis. A case in point is the IDM smear of Ladyscraper’s “Osaka,” given a hot toddy of Squarepusher to keep it from becoming soporific, or the high-speed dubbing take on breakcore engendered by Oen Flux for the exhilarating “Decimal Point (Get Up).” Alongside contributions from Shitmat, Spoon Phase and Clavence Palmer, these more coherent interludes suggest that rather than being a mere novelty Whatever! represents a determined effort by some conspicuously talented sorts to corrupt the apathetic state inhabited by much of the leftfield electronica cabal.
Breathless, unsophisticated, and often downright rude, Whatever! is certainly not to everyone’s taste; but take it for what it is and don’t try and impose too many intellectual caveats and you’ll find an album bristling with infectious crapness. Thirty wrongs do seem to make a maladjusted right.
Reviewed by: Adam Park
Reviewed on: 2006-01-03