Wompblog homie Yan Zombie just dropped his LP, The Hold-On Tight:Analogue Slices Of Love and Confusion on Bandcamp yesterday, pay-what-you-want style. Fans of Leonard Dstroy, Kid Koala and Mixmaster Mike should definitely give this a whirl. We covered Yan’s prolific output last week, but this release deserves it’s own collection of words.
I’ve been listening to this for a few weeks now and am continually impressed with the depth and creativity of the sampling and composition. Fundamentally, it’s a beat tape – the sheer volume of samples and track lengths makes it inescapable. There’s more mo-town and vintage soul in this LP than in most of your parents’ record collections. But something more ambitious is going on here. The most recognizable melodies are repurposed as ad-libs. More obscure source material is left mostly in-tact but reverbed and rearranged into something entirely new. There’s some delicious hints of glitch. Rarely does this sound anything like Dilla. At points it sounds like the long-lost twin of Paul’s Boutique, and I ain’t mad about that. Or if Madlib challenged himself to make a song entirely out of songs made from other songs. These are messy, meta beats, and they’re having way, way too much fun.
The cheeky juxtapositions are part of that, sure, but it’s also an unstoppable groove. Most of these tracks are built around a single drum loop, but there’s more than enough detailing to keep things interesting; lots of vinyl spin-up and slow-downs are left un-trimmed, drums flare and stutter, and Yan Zombie rides his beat repeat off into the sunset like Paula Deen rides butter.
It’s sorta like if Prefuse73 did the Girl Talk thing – one could play name-that-sample all day with this record (fwiw I’m pretty sure he also samples Prefuse73). But the real fun is in hearing how the bits you know mesh with the ones on the tip of your tongue to form something entirely new, yet bathed in nostalgia. It’s not seamless – that would be counterproductive. Better yet, it wears it’s seams with pride as it does things you never thought a beat tape could; fascinate.