A lot of shit right now is making you beg for the good part. The opening track on the new LCD Soundsystem blueballs the beat for like three minutes. "Regenerate," the heaviest track on Booka Shade's newest, makes you sit on your hands through a whole ambient movement before dropping the load. Hell, even the world's least-subtle dude Calvin Harris scored a direct hit last year by sticking a phony trance track onto the back end of a wonky ballad.
Christian Smith, however, does not fuck around when it comes to doling out smiles. Smith starts Director's Cut with "Higienopolis," a deep-n-dubby track named for his adopted borough of Sao Paolo, home to the one of the city's earliest sewage plants. Wiggly melodies and overly dramatic vistas set the stage aptly: This is techno for people who listen to techno and don't think too hard about it (or write about it on the internet). On "Beluga," Smith trades the sludgy synths for laser beams and taps out a precise little tech house track. It's meat-and-potatoes DJ fare, a hearty meal that doesn't raise any eyebrows or trigger any gag reflexes.
Sadly, our director could have left a bit more content on the cutting room floor. Filler like "I Wanna Step Away" and "Break It Down" showcase Smith's percussion sequencing aplomb and have little else to recommend them. Shame, since a bit more elbow grease on the basslines would have saved both from the skip button. Album highlight status goes to closer "Milky Way," a gauzy warp core of crystal pads and pulsing kicks. Closest cousin? Probably Mylo's "Muscle Cars" from way back when. "Milky Way" is one of those effortless little summer cuts that seems to keep pulling the curtains away to reveal another deeper, happier part. Fellow Brazilian Gui Boratto apparently agrees; an essentially un-messed-with cut of the track appears on Boratto's Renaissance: The Mix Collection released back in February.
Albums like Director's Cut are often frustrating for the same reasons they're exhilarating. The no-nonsense attitude towards dropping good breaks and tingling crescendos often belies a shortage of granular ideas. Obviously, good electronic music doesn't have to be about anything, but because this LP offers so few listening challenges, you'll probably get everything you want out of it in one or two listens.
Tracklist 01. Higienopolis
03. Pressure Point
06. I Wanna Step Away
07. Tribute to Principle
08. Break it Down
09. Indecent Exposure
10. Milky Way