Saturday, October 17, 2015

TRABAJO “Lucky Dollar City” C28
(JMC Aggregate)



I’ve rocked a little bit to Trabajo in my day. Sure, everybody probably has by now – the duo of Yuchen Lin and TJ Richards have been knocking around the NYC for a few years now, so I’m sure you’ve been to one of their shows. And if, like me, your entry point was their excellent 7-inch Gamelan to the Love God, then you know the utter chaos these two can conjure. Prepare to slamdance, once again, Neo Tokyo style, but maybe only in your head if you’re some kind of telepathic mutant. (Please don’t do a live-action Akira, Hollywood, promise me this!)

Lucky Dollar City was released by JMC Aggregate as part of their “Organechs” series, six short cassette releases to accompany visual art by James Moore. Not hard to see why Trabajo rates so highly for this kind of collection – they’ve really progressed as musicians and composers since Gamelan (which is still great). Not only do they continue to trade in Eastern-influenced electronic dance music, but they also refuse to be pinned down by style. Indeed, though the album begins with the gamelan-inflected stylings of “The Thoughtographer (Parts 1 & 2),” any sense of normalcy is banished in the wild Looney Tunes breakdowns. And once that’s through, electro-synth workout “Loglo” announces Trabajo simply as electronic music mavens, free to head in whatever direction they please.

It’s still great that they hang out in Eastern territory too, as they do on “Rococo Heart” and the title track which wraps the album. Come for that, stay for this: they do a remarkable HEALTH impersonation on “Architectural Fiction,” perhaps my new favorite Trabajo song (it’s that metallic bass tone that draws the connection). They also dabble in instrumental hip hop on “YC Boom,” a nice path down which to sidetrack. And “From Ten Sides” is a distorted horrorphonic head-melter that’s tossed in there because why not? Here’s why: it’s awesome.

So’s the rest of Lucky Dollar City. If you haven’t had the intense pleasure of introducing yourself to the band, let this one be your guide. It’s the perfect entry point.



--Ryan Masteller


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