Rapid Transit


"With the arrival of the Rapid Transit compilation, what has come to be called 'electronic music' has definitively left behind that still-dominant era, identified so long ago by Antonio Gramsci as: 'an interregnum in which the old is dying and new cannot yet be born.' With this thoughtfully assembled compilation, the new is finally born. But it is not designed to put anyone at ease or leaves its listeners complacent. Instead, the listener is simply forced to examine their own musical tastes and discover the blind spots that are always to be found there. Once so easily lumped in with the 'Miami sound,' Seven 3.6's Chocolate Industries has moved not only geographically but also aesthetically. When the label moved northward to Chicago, a city with an extraordinary Black musical history, it began to incorporate the disparate influences to be found there. Rapid Transit, while dominated by new tracks, returns to tracks that are etched in the mind of those willing to take those daring first steps from electronic music to hip-hop and vice-versa. Thus, Spencer Bellamy's 'Tried By 12' by East Flatbush Project is the second track here. It is worth recalling the Chocolate Industries broke down, once and for all, the long held yet laughable distinction between hip-hop and what the media are fond of calling 'electronica,' when they released the path-breaking East Flatbush Project compilation which brought the two antagonistic camps together, and no one looked back. Squarepusher and Autechre, among others, added their two cents to this obscure Brooklyn hip-hop gem. Now, Chocolate Industries has taken the tired, long-held conventions about electronic music and hip-hop and once again rearranged the musical palette. Just when you thought: 'Ahh, electronics and hip-hop: brilliant idea,' Rapid Transit takes on board another dimension of contemporary musical cross-pollination. Whoever though that free and improvisational jazz had nothing to do with hip-hop and electronics just hadn't read their liner notes or heard the anecdotes. As one of African-America's founding art forms, it was inseparable from the get go. Thus when the label's artist encountered the fecundity of the Chicago underground jazz scene, artists like Doug Scharin, Rob Maranek, Chicago Underground Trio, Isotope 217 and numerous others, there was hesitation. What Rapid Transit represents then, is where Mr. Lif meets the ghost of Alice Coltrane and Push Button Objects (Edgar Farinas) encounters the jazz coronet between two turntables and a mixer. It is also a compilation that fills the listener with suspense and anticipation because it is the place where local US musical movements, (Miami, Atlanta, and Chicago, to name only three) previously separated both by geography and musical aesthetic come together to produce a hybrid, the full results of which will still be unfolding a decade from now. This is a true state-of-the-art manifesto for the US electronic underground, in every one of its variegated aspects." -- Tim Haslett. Track listing: Prefuse-72: "7th Message"; Roots Manuva: "Juggle Tings Proper"; East Flatbush Project: "Tried by 12 f/des"; Push Button Objects: "Non Existant"; Sluta Leta: "Whispers Special"; Ko-Wreck Tecnhique: "Metro Dade"; Prefuse-73: "Livin Life"; Communications Project: "Do Tell"; Ko-Wreck Technique: "Behavior"; Rec Center (DJ Emmaculate): "Mind, Body & Soul"; Push Button Objects: "Tooth Picks and Horses"; While: "Slate".