MEAT BEAT MANIFESTO
Record label: :/run recordings
Release date: 15 October 2002
I think I was in my sophomore year of high school when I first heard “God O.D.” by Meat Beat Manifesto. Quite frankly, it did my head in. It was angry, somewhat paranoid, in your face, and highly danceable. It was perhaps my first introduction to the industrial breakbeat aesthetic, as well as the brilliant production methods of Jack Dangers. From “I Got The Fear” to “Helter Skelter” to “Radio Babylon” and beyond, you can hear his rhythms forecasting future subgenres of electronic dance music. Much to my surprise, a new Meat Beat Manifesto album was released last year. While RUOK? is perhaps less political than past MBM releases, the beats still pack quite a punch. You can hear from the quiet fury of “Yuri” that brother Dangers can easily get today’s ravers moving. A wall of breaks holds back an acidic bile just under the surface. The laser-penetrated crunch of “Retrograde” furthers the adrenaline rush, heightening the levels of anxiety and suspicion in the music. Then there are cuts like “Supersoul” that serve as a reminder of Jack’s love for dub. Heavy beats underscore deep echo effects and massive bass. DJ Z-Trip slices the wax with fine precision on “What Does It All Mean?,” the album’s single. This song is all the proof that’s needed to confirm Jack’s respect for hip-hop. (Let’s not forget: Dangers got down with Public Enemy a few years back, producing a cut for the He Got Game soundtrack.) Even The Orb’s Dr. Alex Paterson stops by to make an appearance on “Horn of Jericho.” The mere fact that Jack Dangers hasn’t run out of ideas by now is quite astounding. Not only that, but the ideas that he does come up with are always outta left field and always bangin’. Meat Beat Manifesto’s discography speaks for itself; RUOK? surely adds more truth to the body of evidence.
PLEASE NOTE: while the CD version was released on :/run recordings, Skor Records handled the double vinyl version (released on November 4, 2002). vinyl only contains eight of the 12 songs on the album.