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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Pink Skull
Zeppelin 3
Free News Projects

Rating: 7.8/10 ?


August 7, 2008
Dadaists on African jungle cruises crunk out to Pink Skull. In fact, if Pink Skull was brought up in hushed conversation at one of the formal dinner parties the artistes are known for, a member of the movement might interrupt the discussion and announce: "Are you referring to Pink Skull, the Jersey-bred avant-dance artists who just released their debut album on the Free News Projects label? Why, that's my shit!"

Zeppelin 3 pulsates with strange life in an offsetting, mischievous atmosphere. The drums sound straight out of the Congo, the synths sound like German imports, the blips sound like a HAL 9000 apocalypse, and Ghostface Killah lays comfortably over all of it like a king. Yet, to backtrack just a little, the concept of a dance "album" has always befuddled me to a certain extent, as dance music is usually heard at clubs where singles are remixed and thread together with more singles and remixes of other singles. Even in your college days, there was always one kid who would turn off Thriller at the beginning of its second side in exchange for the first half of Purple Rain. He's the same guy who tried to play Revolution 9 backwards in front of everyone. Zeppelin 3 solves this dilemma by straddling the gap between headphone records and a PA system bangers - exploring both the bizarre and the approachable.

At one second, we're presented with a truly triumphant computer groove ("Gonzo's Cointreau"), and the next we're given a solid ninety seconds of the sound of frogs chirruping ("Zing Zong"). So then what environment is this album is supposed to be heard in? It's too progressive for the club scene, and it's just too groovy to be heard sitting passively in front of a laptop. My personal solution would be to load the record into your iPod, get a killer pair of headphones, make sure you're alone, and just go absolutely nuts. (Not that I've done this.) After the first few passes through the album, you'll be looking forward to the "Crambodia" remix like a teenage boy on a flight to a French nudist colony.

One thing that Zeppelin 3 makes clear is that Pink Skull headmaster Julian Grefe appears to currently be just bored to tears with dance music. He certainly loves it, but my God, what happened to it? Cascada? Katie Perry? This is the stuff we're peddling to the public? We shouldn't have to feel like we've sacrificed our dignity and intelligence in exchange for shaking our collective booty, and in response Grefe gives us an intelligent and audacious album in Zeppelin 3. The drawback is that he may have, at times, rebelled too aggressively. There are patches of the album (it's second half in particular,) that are difficult seemingly just for the sake of being difficult. Cuts like "Itchy Woman" and "El Topo," despite having fantastic titles, are slightly more grating to the ear than highlights like "Gonzo's Cointreau" and "Bubblelog Aftermath," taking five to six minutes to flex their avant-garde muscles to accomplish not much else. If you can make it through the twenty minutes of largely wandering and experimental material from "Cry for Meee" to "El Topo," however, it will be well worth it, as it all lays the groundwork for the impressive "Bubblelog Aftermath."

"Bubblelog Aftermath" is Pink Skull's "I Am the Resurrection" - a ten-minute plus album climaxing monster of creativity and boundless energy. The cut slithers and bounces, wasting none of it's extended time frame, and shows Grefe & Co. going for broke in one insane, condensed shot of delirium. This, and the included remix of Plastic Little's "Crambodia," are Zeppelin 3's two clear-cut MVPs on an album littered with engaging moments. The remix, which features Spank Rock, Amanda Blank, and Ghostface Killah, is the selection most prepared to take over your neighborhood club dance floor and showcases Pink Skull's signature tribal influence as well as a choice crop of chopped & screwed sound waves doing the jitter bug. Despite its forced moments, Zeppelin 3 is a very good record that must be a breath of fresh air to a genre that too easily becomes stale. They have shown to be masters of the remix and an act to watch in the coming years. Try dropping their name at a college art show and see what happens.

Reviewed by Dave Toropov
Introduced to music in the womb with a pair of headphones on his mother's stomach, Dave Toropov has yet to recover the experience. A writer based in Boston and New York, he has also written for Prefix Magazine and What Was It Anyway, and is the maintainer of the "Middleclass Haunt" blog.

See other reviews by Dave Toropov

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