SCRATCH PERVERTS Badmeaningood (Whoa/Ultimate Dilemma)
Having heard Scratch Perverts' breathtaking de-/re-construction job on Unkle's "Psyence Fiction" album, this fourth instalment in the "Badmeaningood" series was hotly anticipated by me. And, having lived with it for a few months, I have to admit that any misgivings that the trio might have been holding back on their decksmanship probably have more to do with the whole "Badmeaningood" concept rather than the collective efforts of Tony Vegas, Plus One and Prime Cuts themselves. In encouraging DJs to showcase the dusty depth of their record boxes and then attempting, not altogether successfully, to bind the whole together as some kind of exploration of the tributaries of hip hop is almost certain to result in a discordant, disorientating listening experience. Not that I would prefer to be listening to some kind of slick snorefest such as Seb Fontaine's recent Perfecto set, of course, but maybe something more akin to the Brothers Chemical's masterful "Brothers Gonna Work It Out", which, in deftly treading a path between these two extremes, is still for me the holy grail of home clubbing experiences.
Nevertheless, philosophy aside, there's a deal of fine music on this CD, and that's almost certainly the purpose and the point. A battered old copy of The Specials' ever-potent "Ghost Town" grows itself a slinky new electro coda at one end and nuzzles up to Lalo Schifrin's "Dirty Harry" soundtrack work at the other. The glorious cut-and-paste cacophony of DJ Shadow's "Entropy" makes itself right at home in this context, whilst the unrepentantly politically incorrect schoolyard (ahem) braggadocio of Schooly D's "Saturday Night" is chunkily authentic. M.O.P. offer an awesome Wu-Tang style verbal battering with "Ante Up", giving way to, of all things, the luscious soul opera of Minnie Ripperton's "Les Fleurs". The tongue-twisting dexterity displayed by Blackalicious' "Alphabet Aerobics" collapses, exhausted and gasping, into Squarepusher's ever-pungent Craig David parody "My Red Hot Car", and Origin Unknown's "Valley Of The Shadows" is authentic old-timey drum 'n' bass, all rattling breakbeats, seismic basslines and disconnected dialogue samples. All of which, well alright, I'll grudgingly admit, makes for the best "Badmeaningood" I've yet heard. But the nagging concern that, given their history and expertise, Scratch Perverts could have delivered a session even finer than this, persists.