Basement Jaxx - Kish Kash
Basement Jaxx is a DJ duo consisting of Felix Burton and Simon Ratcliffe, and they made their name hosting parties in London in the early 90's. They became known for their outlandish stage shows and the wide range of influences they incorporate in the sound. A decade later, and they're still at it, and Kish Kash looks like repeating the success of their first two albums for XL records, Remedy and Rooty.
The first thing that strikes you about Kish Kash is the sheer diversity of influences contained within the humble looking disc. Collaborators include such diverse artists as Siousxie Sioux, Dizzee Rascal and Lisa Kekaula of The Bellrays and that's just a few among dozens, all talented artists in their own right, and each bringing their own little bit of chemistry to the process.
Basement Jaxx also know something about building an album. No random collection of beats is to be found here, each track fits perfectly with the ones around it, which make Kish Kash a totally fulfilling experience through each of it's 14 songs. The word ‘songs’ is used deliberately. Kish Kash provides more than just an image of some remote DJ manipulating other peoples beats and samples, but instead it's plain to see that thought and imagination have been built into each of the compositions. More than that, though, there's a real sense that the people making this were having a fantastic time and that's contagious. This is not an album for silent contemplation through headphones, on the sofa with a coffee. This is an album for jumping around the room too.
Opener Good Luck provides a wonderful introduction to the album. 30 seconds in, and you'll be enthralled by Lisa Kekaula's vocals. Then it just gets better, with a collection of samples, beats and time changes that build to one of the catchiest, most addictive songs on the album. It's hard to pick a stand out song amongst so many, but Lucky Star which features Dizzee Rascal is a fast, hard and aggressive anthem which drips swagger and attitude is one that you will find yourself returning to again and again.
Cish Cash, featuring Siousxie Sioux is another that demands the odd repeat listen; it's a moody song that has an organic, old-school feel to it. Really, there's not a duff track here, though, and it's one of those albums that will be quite at home on repeat play at any party.
The influences on here are as wonderfully diverse as the artists involved. In almost every song you will find an eclectic mix of electronica, goth, punk, rock, funk, reggae, Egyptian and Indian beats. It gives a sense of how enveloping and inclusionary that misleading label of 'dance music' can sometimes be. There's something for everyone and, in this rare instance, it's a good thing. One of the best albums of the year and that's no mean feat.