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Finding the limits of music

By Meat Beat Manifesto

Metropolis: 2008

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This review first appeared in Turbula in April 2008.

Taking the remix mentality of early pioneers like Bill Laswell and applying it to hip-hop and electronica, Meat Beat Manifesto has served a launching pad for fusions of technology and out-there music for the past 20 years. The new studio release of what has become the vehicle for Jack Dangers finds him sampling radio broadcasts and musical snippets and mixing them up with electronic doodlings.

And, okay, that previous paragraph doesn't exactly sound like an endorsement, at least not for something most people would want to buy or listen to.

But the thing about "Autoimmune" you should most know is that it's a fun listen. Dangers has captured, or perhaps only held onto, that sense of curiosity that marked experimental music in the 1960s and '70s. This isn't about anger or politics – it's about finding the limits of what constitutes music, pushing a bit past it, then pulling back and trying a different direction. The songs here have melodies and structure; it never devolves into noise or the sort of self-aware nonsense that too often passes for "experimental" music.