DIESELBOY "The Human Resource" Human/System MESSINIAN "Rhymes Against Humanity" Messinian

Friday, June 30, 2006

DIESELBOY"The Human Resource"Human/SystemMESSINIAN"Rhymes Against Humanity"Messinian

DIESELBOY KNOWS what he likes. Where other DJ/producers compile mix CDs that cover wide vistas of contemporary electronic dance music, Dieselboy's "The Human Resource" offers two discs of fuzzed-synth bass, steel-hard beats and fast-tempo breaks. That the twin sets draw so heavily from the Philadelphia-bred drum 'n' bass man's own label, Human, is just more evidence that the 'Boy (aka Damian Higgins) has a specific and emphatic vision.

The first of the two discs offers a dozen Human tracks, including such frantic workouts as "Grunge 3" -- the work of an act whose name can't be rendered without backwards characters -- and Kaos, Karl K and Jae Kennedy's "Houston." Although various forms of vocalese intrude on several tracks, the priorities are synthetic rhythms, electronic effects and a swaggering energy that might win susceptible heavy-metal fans.

The second disc, mixed by Evol Intent rather than by Dieselboy, mashes snippets of 23 tracks, including some offered in untrammeled form on the first CD. It starts a little slowly and there are distractions along the way, but easily an hour of the 68-minute meld proceeds at full velocity.

The mix may, in fact, be too aggressive for home listening -- not that drum 'n' bass obsessives will find that a limitation.

A few tracks on "The Human Resource" feature Messinian, who is the resident rapper on Dieselboy's "Planet of the Drums" tour. Messinian steps forward on his "Rhymes Against Humanity," a solo album that owes less to drum 'n' bass than to gangsta rap. The rapper crafts vivid grooves, shows occasional affinities for dancehall reggae and trip-hop, and borrows from the Doors' "The End" for the final track. Too much of the album, however, is dedicated to thuggish posturing that quickly proves one-dimensional and tiresome.

-- Mark Jenkins

Appearing Friday at Nation.

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