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Wednesday, Mar 11 1998
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David Holmes
The sounds that litter inner city streets are quickly filtered and forgotten by most urban dwellers, yet for Belgian-born DJ David Holmes this auditory refuse is worth its weight in wax. On Let's Get Killed Holmes collects city noise -- from the cracked-out conversations to the simple rattling of a bike chain -- and sets it to music. The results are a funky collection of 13 songs that sound like an impressionistic soundtrack of New York City's seedy underbelly, or what's left of it. Each track is crafted into a cinematic scene. Various styles of electronic music -- ambient, techno, drum 'n' bass -- set the mood for the conversations and the found sounds.

This technique is a wise choice for Holmes, whose true talent seems to be his ability to merge styles with the mastery of a collage artist. This is most evident on the title track, which combines dub, drum 'n' bass, and downtempo grooves to create an eerie and tense mood for the sinister tale of a man's vengeance ("I fuckin' walked up to him and fuckin' hit him as hard as I could and his fuckin' face exploded," the man says). On "Freaknik," Holmes answers a club kid's rant about a club's no-dancing policy with a beat-heavy electro-funk number that fuses some elements of hip hop and house -- it's like he's teasing the kid. Dance DJs live and die by deft mixing abilities, and Holmes is clearly alive. After listening to his seamless record, missing Holmes' first set in the Bay Area would be like missing the plot.

-- Robert Arriaga

David Holmes opens for Crystal Method, Propellerheads, Fatboy Slim, and BT Thursday, March 12, at 8 p.m. at the Warfield, 982 Market (at Sixth Street). Tickets are $20; call 775-7722.

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Robert Arriaga

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