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Parallel Universe #1

DJ Brokenwindow
Parallel Universe #1
(Violent Turd Records)

Oh my goodness. Just when you thought that the bootlegging remix trend had gone too far, along comes DJ Brokenwindow with one of the most extreme examples in contrasting mixes that I've ever heard. Christina versus The Strokes has nothing on this release, as they at least had stylishly tousled hair and a pop sensibility in common. Most of the mixes on this release come together like freight trains in opposite directions.

That said, though, many of them work like a charm. A 70-plus minute excursion in mixing opposite slabs of wax, Parallel Universe #1 is the supposed (but secret) work of a certain American IDM artist, but it sounds like the work of a mad scientist. 70s moog recordings collide with rap, pastoral electronic collides with acapella prog rock, and kids records mash it up with early electro. In other words, it's a hell of a mess, but it's a lot of damn fun as well.

Released on Violent Turd Recordings (a sub-label of Tigerbeat6 that seems to have been created for the sole purpose of releasing highly copywright-questionable material), the discs starts out with the cheeky rap of "Hair And Nails" by the Get Some Crew, but before you know it, the bubbly melody of "Percolator" by Hot Butter comes in behind it all. On track 3, "Ecstacy" by New Order is pitched way down and Heavy D And The Boyz bust "We Got Our Own Thing" over the top. You'd be correct in saying that it sounded like a failed 80's concept album of some sort, but the fact that the two fit together at all is an oddity to ponder (or maybe not). The former tracks also illustrate one of the main problems with the disc, which is that many of the vocal tracks have been pitched up or down so much that they sound either very tinny or far too low, but it's also part of the charm of the weird project.

A friend of mine stated that, 'anyone could mix records together like this,' and he has a point, but the fact that someone actually sat down and found combinations for such disparaging tracks still counts for something. All those kids throwing together shoestring bootlegs are doing about the same thing, but when you hear The Turtles singing "Elenore" over the top of a dark electronics track from Ectomorph (Rephlex Records), you have to wonder how in the hell DJ Brokenwindow (whoever they are) came to the realization that the two tracks would even go together in the first place.

While most tracks are mainly good for their chuckle value and not a whole lot else (note Vanilla Ice doing "Ice Ice Baby" over the mid-80's electro-pop of "Living On Video" by Trans-X), there are some tracks that both sound good and are genuinely hilarious as well. With a coup that nearly every Boards Of Canada fan should hear, an acapella version of Yes' "Leave It" plays out over "Turquoise Hexagon Sun" to a downright stunning effect. Likewise, a silly learning basic skills song entitled "Parade Of Colors" is layered over the top of a skittering glitch-fest by Beige entitled "Pfenning, Inc." To make matters more interesting, the liner notes of the CD tell you how to assemble each of the mixes contained within, as sort of an exercise in DJ schooling (although finding some of the obscurities contained within will no-doubt prove frustrating). In the end, it's more novelty than anything else, but sometimes that's just fine with me. I hear there's a Volume 2 forthcoming, and I'll admit that I'm still intrigued.

Rating: 7