- The decade-long transformation of The Rapture from sub-Sub Pop, half-Mudhoney, half-Robert Smith grunge-lite hopefuls into DFA-approved nü-disco DJing luminaries, if a little unlikely, shouldn't really be surprising. After all, they did have the balls back in 2002 to release an eight-minute long acid house single ("Olio") right next to that "House of Jealous Lovers" era-defining "disco-punk" moment. Recruiting someone like Ewan Pearson to produce their third album was, in fact, a totally natural step. On Tapes, the band first official mixed compilation, they've decided to show the world there's always been a dance element to their indie rock.
Consequently, the mix's overarching theme is vintage disco history—no matter what the introductory inclusion of some Wu-Tang/Def Jam-sponsored cuts might suggest. The nostalgic sequence that goes from The Bar-Kays, Vaughan Mason & Crew and the Arthur Russell-enhanced Northend to the quirky "I'm an Indian Too," the self-explanatory "Disco Circus" and the sultry "Fantasy Lines" is a history lesson, but one that's both guileless and effortless. A heavily filtered Thomas Bangalter track from his late '90s Roulé Music days moves the mix from disco to house, giving room to Armand Van Helden, Curtis Jones and Maurice Fulton. If you ever wondered what chapters 6 to 11 from the Last Night a DJ Saved My Life. The History of the Disc Jockey anthology would read like put to music, you have your answer right there.
Following such a well-informed selection, however, recent releases such as DJ Mujava's "Township Funk" and Alter Ego's "Why Not?!" stick out like electro sore thumbs, as if they haven't earned the right to be there yet. It's not helped by the fact that oftentimes beatmatching is not a plausible option because of the variety of the source material. Instead, the intuitively resourceful DJ has to rely on other connective traits (melodic, stylistic, or broadly generic) to give his montage some sort of flow: Trevor Jackson's DJ Kicks mix (under the Playgroup moniker) comes to mind in terms of a successful example.
It says "Mixed by The Rapture" on the bin, yet the NYC-based quartet is no 2 Many DJs, and Tapes should—and does here and there—feel like it has four pair of hands at the wheel, i.e. a tad dispersed and shaky. That said, taken as a whole and listened to without caring too much, the actual mixing never appears overtly utilitarian; one could even say the superposition of "Why Not?!" with its surrounding neighbors is audacious and surprisingly satisfying.
As the title of that Richie Havens cut puts it, in retrospect, Tapes is all about going back to The Rapture's roots. Who would have thought that by doing so they'd also be going to everyone else's?
01. The Undisputed Truth - Earthquake Shake
02. Ghostface Killah - Daytona 500
03. Junkyard Band - The Word
04. The Bar-Kays - Holy Ghost
05. Vaughan Mason & Crew - Bounce, Rock, Skate, Roll
06. Northend - Tee's Happy
07. Don Armando's Second Avenue Rumba Band - I'm An Indian Too
08. Martin Circus - Disco Circus
09. Arcade Lover - Fantasy Lines
10. Thomas Bangalter - Club Soda
11. Kiloo & Phonique - The Passion (Phonique Mix Down)
12. Armand Van Helden - Flowerz
13. Cajmere feat. Dajae - Say U Will
14. Syclops - Where's Jason's K
15. DJ Mujava - Township Funk
16. Donk Boys - Cpstyre
17. Dances With White Girls - Everybody's Got To Make A Living
18. Alter Ego - Why Not?!
19. Paul Johnson - Get Get Down (Extended Mix)
20. Kid Crème - Austin's Groove
21. Richie Havens - Going Back To My Roots
22. Galaxy 2 Galaxy - Afro Arps And Minimoogs