DJ Z-Trip & DJ P

Uneasy Listening, Volume 1 (Self-released)

Blending a wide array of rock, pop, and rap from the '70s through the '90s, Phoenix's DJ Z-Trip and Tulsa's DJ P whip together a giddy platter of anachronisms on Uneasy Listening, Volume 1. Self-released in a 1,000-copy run, for obvious litigious reasons, the record plays like a good comedy album: Although the set's novelty fades with each listen, the effort succeeds thanks to the DJs' revelatory pairings and willingness to playfully push, then shred, their chosen envelope.

Uneasy Listening showcases a lesser-utilized DJ skill: matching the instrumental tracks of one or more tunes to the vocal track of another. When this format works, it serves up the unexpected synergy of the lyrics to L.A. hip hop act Pharcyde's "Passing Me By" spread over the music to Pat Benatar's "Love Is a Battlefield," and Public Enemy's "Bring the Noise" atop Naked Eyes' synth-pop hit "Promises, Promises." When the style fails, it presents disasters like Midnight Oil's bombastic "Beds Are Burning" mixed with Metallica's "For Whom the Bell Tolls." Or it shares the startling discovery that, gee, Afrika Bambaataa's "Planet Rock" beat really can't reanimate the metallic clichés of Ratt's "Round and Round" -- even if it looked sopromising on paper. But, granted, even the duds are captivating the first time around.

The opening track -- which places Glen Campbell's "Rhinestone Cowboy" over peppy electronic drums, with the "cow-" spliced out of the chorus and replaced with the letter "B" read Sesame Street-style -- could work as a kind of theme song. Like a rhinestone-wearing b-boy, this material shines in its attempt to be both wacky and authentically hip hop (which, after all, reaped its first commercial success when the Sugarhill Gang rapped over the disco beat from Chic's "Good Times"). But a rhinestone ain't ice, by any means. When, on track 19, Cyndi Lauper sings "Time After Time" over a dated electro beat, the result raises the question of whether some records would be better left in the bargain bins.

Details

Spins with Dilated Peoples, Afrika Bambaataa, and Mixmaster Mike

Tuesday, March 5, at 9 p.m.

Tickets are $30

346-6000

Scratch Tour showcase at the Fillmore, 1805 Geary (at Fillmore), S.F.

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Z-Trip's background as an innovative, crowd-pleasing deck jockey contributes to both this album's strengths and its weaknesses. DJ sets, like comedy gigs, are live events for which large audiences reward bold innovation more than longevity-leaning songcraft. To wow the masses, Uneasy Listening dresses virtuoso hip hop in the clown suit of the last 30 years of suburban pop culture, making a joke at the expense of formulaic DJs everywhere.

 
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