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Special Gunpowder

DJ /Rupture
Special Gunpowder
(Tigerbeat6 Records)

Just over a year back, I heard an internet bootleg mix by one DJ/Rupture that tickled my fancy quite nicely. It mixed ragga with gabber techno and mainstream tracks by Missy Elliot with obscure cuts that only a digger could turn up. Gold Teeth Thief was a heck of a debut entry, and if that wasn't good enough, the follow-up of Minesweeper Suite was an even more potent punch of a mix, taking just about every genre and slamming it all together into one of the more invigorating mix releases that I'd heard in some time (and yeah, it's still one of the best ones I've heard in the past couple years).

Although he'd released a disc (and a subsequent disc of remixes) as Nettle, Special Gunpowder is the true debut release from the guy who opened with a bang and while it might not pack the immediate punch of those other efforts, it's another solid entry from a young musician who obviously has a talent at blending styles to his advantage. Enlisting a huge roster of collaborators on the effort (including poet Elizabeth Alexander, a whole slew of MC's and singers, Kid 606, Kit Clayton, and many, many others), the effort is pretty much what you'd expect from a fellow who blasted out of the gate with such multicultural musical mashes.

The disc opens with a track that fits the album artwork with "Overture: Watermelon City," a sweltering track of spoken-word by Alexander mixed with filtered horns and a lumbering beat that never quite takes off but is always there threatening. "Little More Oil" follows with a touch of reggae as horns again accent crisp beats and Sister Nancy adds some great, emotive founts of vocals. Interestingly enough, the album still sort of moves with the flow of a mix disc as each subsequent track gains in volume just slightly until "No Heathen" comes banging out with a rugged two-step style beat and vocals from Wicked Act that give it a heavy ragga feel.

The middle of the disc keeps things changing up a bit, moving from lighter ("Musquito") to heavier ("Bonechip") with both sides getting playing time. "The Book That Can't Be Opened At Either End" is about as extreme as it comes, dropping a stew of swirling noise and distorted vocals by Eugene Robinson that comes across like Ol Dirty Bastard getting minced in a digital blender. While not quite as smooth as his previous mixes, there are still more than a fair share of great tracks on the disc and tracks like the banging hollow kick and middle-eastern flair of "Taqasim" prove that Rupture isn't afraid to tackle styles and pulls them off with a flair that would end up sounding cheesy coming out of most hands.

Rating: 7.5