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Album review: Rusko, 'O.M.G.!'

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010



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DJ-producer Rusko, the reigning king of dubstep, is in demand these days -- his work will appear on M.I.A.'s upcoming album, and he recently agreed to pitch in behind the boards on a new Britney Spears album. It makes perfect sense that two artists who couldn't be more different would want their projects to bear Rusko's imprint: His tracks incorporate experimental electronic throb and unserious, pop-leaning fun.

Rusko serves up both traits on his debut LP, "O.M.G.!," released on Mad Decent, the label of Hollertronix architect Diplo. A strange collection of guests (rapper Gucci Mane, Dirty Projectors singer Amber Coffman) and sonic influences should appeal to the headphone listener, but the U.K. DJ remains firmly rooted in speaker-rattle throughout, never completely turning his back on dubstep fans.

Album opener "Woo Boost" is a standard bass-quake, but after that introduction, Rusko bounds around the musical map. On "Hold On," Rusko takes Coffman out of the indie universe of Dave Longstreth and transforms her into a slick club diva. Both "Scareware" featuring Redlight and "Got Da Groove" featuring Gucci Mane play around with hip-hop elements; "Rubadub Shakedown" featuring Rob Azlan siphons reggae sounds; and "My Mouth" is all jangly, abrasive techno.

Rusko's first full-length outing is diverse, to say the least, sometimes dizzyingly so, but for all it's genre-flitting and tinkering, the primary goal of "O.M.G!" is still to get everyone on the floor and dancing.

Rusko performs at the Starscape Festival in Baltimore on June 5.

-- Sarah Godfrey

Recommended tracks:

"Woo Boost," "Got Da Groove,"

"Hold On"

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