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Tipsy 

Remix Party! (Asphodel)

Wednesday, Oct 23 2002
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One of the first outfits to focus sampling tricknology on creating a modern counterpart to Jean-Jacques Perrey's '60s electronic avant-pop and Les Baxter's exotic '50s orchestrations, Tipsy crafts thoroughly swinging, 25th-century-minded sonic cocktails. Drawing from both vintage vinyl and studio parts recorded by such local luminaries as Tom Waits collaborators Joe Gore and Ralph Carney, Tin Hat Trio keyboardist Rob Burger, and Mr. Bungle's Trevor Dunn, Tipsy's principals -- Tim Digulla and David J. Gardner -- construct music that simultaneously pillages and pays tribute to the Space Age bachelor pad soundtracks of the past. Given the S.F. group's kitsch-en sink cut-and-paste approach, a compilation like Remix Party! was perhaps inevitable. But where many remix projects manipulate and distort songs almost beyond recognition, this record stays true to Tipsy's loungedelic vibe.

The consistently mondo-retro flavor of the collection stems as much from the participants invited as from the material. Swiss laptop jockey Seelenluft, the cheeky plunderphonic nerds in Seattle's Bran Flakes, and Belgium's cartoon-y Dim Dim share stylistic elements with Tipsy that can't help but color their respective remixes. On their version of "Hey!," theremin-drenched Russian surf rockers Messer Chups introduce white noise nicked from '60s synth experimenter Morton Subotnick, while L.A.'s groovy space invaders Seksu Roba send "Wig Out" into orbit by jacking up the tempo, inserting a pulsing, echo-laden bridge, and dropping soundbites culled from one of Santo's Mexican wrestler sci-fi flicks. Even the remixers outside this cadre of electronica artists seem to consciously stick close to Tipsy's program: U.K. breakbeat mavens the Sons of Silence defy expectation by delivering a mellow, mysterioso take on "Fur Teacup."

A couple of better-known acts take more substantial liberties with their revamped versions. Local programming duo Matmos forgoes the remix process altogether, contributing a percolating original, "Schatzi a Go Go," that's built on crazed sound effects and "la-la" vocals. The pop-minded High Llamas strip "Sweet Cinnamon Punch" down to a pizzicato string section, mournful slide guitar, and lazy piano chords, staging a pastoral picnic in the Beach Boys' lysergic sandbox, while Optiganally Yours veers from Zeppelin-ish riffage to cocktail bossa nova on "Cinnabar." If more of Remix Party! followed the bold lead of these tracks, the collection might have explored less heavily trodden territory. As it stands, fans of Tipsy's oeuvre will still likely salute this offering with raised martini glasses and orbiting swizzle sticks.

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Dave Pehling

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