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Published: 2002/08/24
by Pat Buzby

The Philadelphia Experiment Remixed – The Philadelphia Experiment

Ropeadope Records 7567 93122-2

This set finds King Britt and a crew of remixers taking on a jazz/funk
quartet set of Philly stars, with Christian McBride and Pat Martino being
the best-known names. Not surprisingly, the mixes address both jazz and
aspects of the urban experience.

I've occasionally run across remix discs in my review
assignments and other places, but have never been able to find much
potential for rewarding listening in them. Most have seemed tepid and
generic from every conceivable angle.

This disc, though, made me think about some of the 70's jazz/rock
experiments. In the early days of fusion, Miles attempted to build
impossible trancelike grooves by putting together two or more keyboardists
and drummers in the studio. Later, Hancock and Zawinul tried to reach the
same ends with overdubbing, anticipating or unknowingly echoing what the
likes of Eno and PiL were doing on the other end of the ocean. This remix
CD made me pull out a few records such as Weather Report's Mr. Gone,
which turned out to be rather more interesting as a proto-techno effort than
a jazz record. The folks here seem to be doing the same thing, though with
less of the inconvenience of human involvement. Certainly King Britt and
co.'s mixes smoke those '70s efforts, though they might be less qualified to
do music.

Still, there are some definite musical rewards here. "Miles Hit (King
Britt's Scuba Mix)", apparently the only contribution from Britt himself, is
a hypnotic brew of a cyclical, assymetrical drumbeat (whose three hi-hats
make it something a human would not be likely to produce) with trancey
voices and drones. And "Grover (Victor Duplaix Remix)" provides a haunting
theme with layered keyboard and synth sounds, with the central Rhodes
distorted to sound as frozen in the past as Grover Washington himself sadly
is. Some Martino-esque bebop guitar flitters through a few tracks, and
Milesian trumpet turns up from time to time, notably on "Philadelphia
Experiment (Phillip Charles Remix)", which sounds not unlike a Miles
excursion circa Get Up With It.

I'll have to leave it to those who know more about Philadelphia to offer
opinions about how much bits such as Phillip Charles's 30-second
street-name-titled interludes of electronic noise evoke the city. However,
this set opens up a new listening avenue. This reviewing job has its

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