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Meat Beat Manifesto
RUOK?
:\run recordings

First appeared in the Willamette Week, December, 2002

Finally, a full four years after the excellent Actual Sounds & Voices, there is a new Meat Beat Manifesto record. It would be all too easy to conclude that the man behind the Meat Beat, Jack Dangers, was reluctant to attempt a follow-up to that masterpiece. However, Dangers has actually released a couple records under his own name in the last couple years. And taking this “solo” work into account, the more subdued, stripped-down vibe of RUOK? seems like more of a logical progression.

On this hour-long disk, Dangers skips the vocals all together—which is fine since singing was never his strongpoint anyway—and generally avoids burying the proceedings in a wall of samples. Instead he focuses on his trademark mélange of syncopated breakbeats and stuttering analog arpeggios, frosted with the requisite soundbites and ethereal effects. The result is a twelve-pack of fun, funky electro-ditties that never fails to engage.

Fans may lament the lack of standout tracks like “Prime Audio Soup” and “Acid Again” on this record, but none of the work here is really that far a field from AS&V—many of the jammier tracks from that disc would fit right in here. And ultimately that’s more of a disappointment than any dissimilarity between the records: I, for one, wouldn’t mind if Dangers dropped the breakbeats and the dub bass and even the quirky samples and threw his impressive rhythmic abilities into some really out there IDMish sonic exploration. Whaddya say Jack, just for a little while?

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