- It shouldn't work, but it does. Joe's latest for Hessle Audio is another zany circus-style banger. We first heard him go this route on "Punters Step Out," a mix of warped funhouse organ and sub-bass pressure released on Hemlock in 2013. It's worth examining how Joe went so far off-piste. A product of the FWD>>, DMZ, Rinse and dubstepforum scene, he released an enduring classic, "Claptrap," early in his career. He was a fixture at Theo Parrish's monthly Plastic People residency, making his tastes broader and his productions slowly more eccentric. His releases are now bizarre, infrequent and mostly essential. His last record, from 2015, was an edit of Bobby McFerrin's beatboxed soul oddity "Thinkin' About Your Body."
Joe notches up the delirium on Tail Lift / MPH. Early in "Tail Lift," he unleashes a mangled sample of playground screams and the track's most consistent melodic feature: a triplet pattern played on what sounds like a toy bike's horn. After smooth bass and acrobatic synth makes way for goofy drum breaks—"boing," "smack"—that could have been lifted from a Saturday morning cartoon, Joe anchors the madness with rock-solid drum programming. (I've heard Hunee and Ben UFO deploy "Tail Lift" to climactic effect.) "MPH" is more subdued, hearkening back to "Rut" and "R.E.J. Bit," but it's "Tail Lift" that sums up Joe's odd appeal. Avant-garde production doesn't have to mean chin-stroking—sometimes, bold artistry can make you laugh.
A Tail Lift