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Electronic/Dance - Released February 27, 2012 | [PIAS] Recordings Catalogue

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
A Meat Beat Manifesto album is a special thing, since it usually manages to encompass the styles of other acts while still having a distinct voice of its own. Satyricon features the sample-trippy goofiness of the Orb, the sharp, rock-flavored house of the Chemical Brothers, the streamlined trance of Orbital, and the well-oiled angst of Nine Inch Nails, and that's just for starters. Long-term frontman Jack Dangers truly has a producer's ear, which gives his blend of dance music a considerable advantage: he takes a musician's approach into a programmer's territory, and his use of vocals actually upgrades a song's impact rather than diminishes it. There's more song structure here than in any of the aforementioned acts, making this something like a pop group for sworn enemies of the genre. The infectious electronica and obscure samples create an almost constant (and successful) tension between groove and anxiety, between clubber's abandon and confused introspection. Musical partner Jonny Stephens takes on an almost equal workload as producer/engineer/mixer and multi-instrumentalist, and his lap steel guitar contributions add a wonderfully bizarre layer to the album (comparable to the pairing of Luke Vibert and BJ Cole). Songs like "Mindstream" and "Edge of No Control Pt. 1" add just the right amount of Stephens' Hawaiian space cowboy to the mix -- kind of like a warmer alternative to Theremin. Several other high points along the way in this stuffed-to-the-gills album include: "Your Mind Belongs to the State," a nightmare funky channel-surf through the fractured minds of mental patients and social outcasts, and "Original Control (Version 2)," a wicked laboratory of robots gone amuck, rave/house sirens, and acid-soaked sequencer riffs, making the whole thing sound like an ugly (and wonderful) catfight between Moby and Squarepusher. Again, with all the soundbites, Dangers must shop flea markets and bad video stores two days a week; his vast arsenal of obscure samples range from failed sci-fi to closed-door psychoanalysis to British TV commercials. There are only a few times his "sample cup" runneth over in excess ("Brainwashed This Way/Zombie/That Shirt," "Untold Stories"), but even these diversions are fascinating. This album still sounded good ten years later, and it's probably why they were still respected then. One for the books. ~ Glenn Swan
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 10, 2019 | Flexidisc

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 19, 2018 | MBM Records

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Meat Beat Manifesto were far more prolific throughout the 1990s and 2000s than they were during the 2010s -- 2018's Impossible Star is only their second full-length of the decade, following Answers Come in Dreams by eight years. Even though Jack Dangers and his cohorts have seemingly slowed down their productivity, they've never stopped exploring the outer limits of abstract, beat-heavy electronic music, nor have they run out of things to say. Their previous two albums, Answers Come in Dreams and 2008's stellar Autoimmune, plunged into the then-emerging dubstep sound, and a few tracks on Impossible Star retain those types of crawling tempos and killer bass drops (particularly "Unique Boutique"), but the overall sound of the album is a pretty well-rounded mix of ambient textures and crunchy beats. Vocals do appear on a fair number of tracks, either by way of samples (usually paranoid snippets immersed in static, as on "We Are Surrounded"), or delivered through vocoders, emphasizing the group's electro roots. "T.M.I" is the group's most direct statement about the late-2010s political climate, with Dangers coming to the conclusion that "Misinformation is all we're gonna get now." The album's title track features driving, bashy beats, a fusion-inspired bassline (flashing back to the group's jazzier albums like At the Center), and mellow, spacious synths, along with a puzzle of vocoders and samples, forming a message that "Peace is impossible." It's subtly bleak, but it never sounds as intense or apocalyptic as anything off Storm the Studio. "Nereus Rov" is another winning blast of blown-out shotgun beats and calmly detached spaciness. The centerpiece is the driving 15-minute space suite "Lurker," which is essentially three songs in one. Impossible Star is another strong showing from a veteran outfit that has continually resisted categorization or commercialization, and has remained innovative as well as relevant. ~ Paul Simpson
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Electronic/Dance - Released March 11, 2014 | MBM Records

Not just an excellent producer and long-lived electronic careerist, Jack Dangers has also been on the cusp of nearly every trend in electronic music for well over a decade, ranging all the way from industrial dance to ambient techno, drum'n'bass to funky breaks. From the first few minutes of RUOK?, it's clear he's begun another shift, from the dense sampladelic dance of Actual Sounds + Voices to a sparse, haunted style that leaves much to the imagination but still displays acres of production prowess. Twelve tracks of primitivist electronics and drum machines over unobtrusive breakbeats, the album was recorded in part with a rare mid-'70s synthesizer, the EMS Synthi 100, but Dangers certainly hasn't donned the labcoat to make a dry avant-electronics record. With frequent funk samples and snippets of obscure '50s trad vocals all over it, RUOK? still has much in common with his series of populist breaks records, Tino's Breaks. It also includes appearances from two of the rangiest co-contributors to appear on a dance record in some time: psychedelic techno mastermind Dr. Alex Paterson (from the Orb) and turntablist mentalist Z-Trip; the featured tracks are among the best on offer, though the guests' contributions certainly don't stick out. Though Meat Beat Manifesto fans -- and Dangers has picked up quite a few over the years -- may have trouble following the direction, hardcore fanatics may have anticipated this from his solo release Variaciones Espectrales. ~ John Bush
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Alternative & Indie - Released October 12, 2010 | MBM Records

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Electronic/Dance - Released September 14, 1998 | Play It Again Sam

Fatboy Slim, the Orb, the Chemical Brothers, and easily another half-dozen acts must all have this CD under their pillows at night. Jack Dangers has been saving up ingredients for this rich stew of electronic noodles and scrambled percussion. His band's previous effort, Subliminal Sandwich, was half as good and twice as long (a double CD), but Actual Sounds + Voices is a much improved rebirth, fresh as the lineup assembled for it. There are far more contributors than usual to this MBM release, including Bennie Maupin and Pat Gleeson (alumni from Herbie Hancock's Headhunters group), and the drummer who goes by the name of Brain (from Bill Laswell's hard-hitting funk-rock group Praxis). Dangers smartly opens the door to these and other musicians, and comes up with an album he could not likely achieve on his own. He is the master arranger of the genre, orchestrating found sounds, vintage noise, an obscure library of samples, and always a rich collage of rhythm; he's typically the puppet master, but now he becomes a member of the band, much to the delight of people smart enough to find this CD. There are high points aplenty on this disc, like "Prime Audio Soup" (as heard in The Matrix soundtrack) and the "Acid Again" single, a true-to-form Meat Beat Manifesto piece. There's also a great Weather Report jam session on "The Thumb," where the musicians sound as if they're actually playing music together as a group in a pseudo-live setting (rare for an album so deeply rooted in electronica). The only weak link for the album is perhaps the feeling that easily half of the tracks are so tightly packed with noise, samples, and loops that they almost lack a distinctiveness; it's like each of these songs are competing to be the busiest and the best according to Jack Dangers. Consequently, a few of them cancel each other out. With just a little more breathing room, we'd have five stars. ~ Ken Tataki
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Electronic/Dance - Released June 22, 2015 | [PIAS] Recordings Catalogue

Sounding like virtually none of his contemporaries (except perhaps Future Sound of London), Jack Dangers puts industrial textures to work as a mask for intense vocal samples and breakbeat rhythms plus the occasional organic instrument like guitar and even clarinet. Though Subliminal Sandwich sprawls a bit over the course of its two discs (much like FSOL's Lifeforms), it only rarely fails to excite. ~ John Bush
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Electronic/Dance - Released April 8, 2008 | MBM Records

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Electronic/Dance - Released February 4, 2014 | MBM Records

Armed Audio Warfare indeed! What a perfect title for this massively punishing collection of rare and previously unreleased songs that give a glimpse into what Meat Beat Manifesto's debut album might have sounded like had its masters not been destroyed in a fire. The 11 songs here see Jack Dangers operating in the same fusion of dance, hip-hop, and industrial styles that would make 99% and Satyricon the cult classics they are, but here things are much more intense. One could even make a case that Armed Audio Warfare is one of the hardest and harshest albums of all time. At every twist and turn, hooks and melodies appear out of the acid-rain mist that is the album's heavily distorted and fuzzy underbelly. From its subject matter to its unrelenting sonic buzz, the album evokes a sense that a jackhammer has been used to sculpt its songs. Jack Dangers intones like a madman on "Genocide," a diving and darting dose of screams, Public Enemy-like ferocity, and crunchy electronic sounds that make Nitzer Ebb sound like giggling toddlers. Funky, tropical rhythms worthy of 99% make "Reanimator" a lighter change of pace. "I Got the Fear" pummels a listener with aggressive, metallic sound fragments, seemingly birthing the drill'n'bass genre; one imagines Aphex Twin and Squarepusher drooling and taking notes. "Kick That Man" and "Give Your Body Its Freedom" are the other highlights, both of them political, experimental, and cacophonous masterworks, fitted with pistons and funk. If Dangers sometimes falters a bit when tries to rap over his beautifully squalid songs, one can chalk it up to a sense of humor and move on. Call it the middle ground between Foetus and Public Enemy, but definitely call it a slice of maverick genius. Though one can't guess at how powerful the lost debut album would have been, Armed Audio Warfare is an accessible and stunning masterpiece that makes the loss less painful. ~ Tim DiGravina
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99%

Electronic/Dance - Released February 27, 2012 | Play It Again Sam

Somewhere between the hypnotic drone of acid techno and the grating aggression of industrial metal lies Meat Beat Manifesto. On 99%, Manifesto thrives on a very original sound that takes its cue from an endless catalog of samples mixed together seamlessly over hip-hop and techno beats. The Public Enemy influence is heavy, the opener "Now" could easily fit onto Fear of a Black Planet. But Jack Dangers' psychotic yelp is more in the vein of Front Line Assembly, which can be both engaging ("10 X Faster Than the Speed of Love") and dull ("Psyche Out"), depending on the background noise. The samples take center stage at times, enhancing the pounding "All the Things You Are" and the jazz-tinged "Hello Teenage America" (featuring a classic Mothers of Invention sound bite as the hook). Although this type of music does tend to age poorly, 99% shows little sign of wear and tear. This is almost directly due to the influence of Dangers, who would go on to lead the group to more adventurous areas on future albums. His creative use of sound is what makes potential disasters like the eight-minute "Dogstar Man/Helter Skelter" stay fresh and engaging through changing the beats and samples at good moments. Fans of industrial music will probably enjoy this album, as will those interested in experimental music. This is a rewarding album that takes more than just one listen to truly sink in, but probably will not win over anyone who is not immersed in the electronic music scene. ~ Bradley Torreano
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Electronic/Dance - Released February 19, 2018 | Play It Again Sam

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Electronic/Dance - Released February 27, 2012 | Play It Again Sam

Uptempo yet chunky dub versions of several singles appear on this 1991 album, including two mixes from Andrew Weatherall (Sabres of Paradise). ~ John Bush
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Electronic/Dance - Released November 8, 2010 | Hydrogen Dukebox

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 13, 2010 | MBM Records

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Electronic/Dance - Released March 11, 2014 | MBM Records

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Electronic/Dance - Released February 19, 2018 | Play It Again Sam

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Electronic/Dance - Released February 19, 2018 | Play It Again Sam

The early Dog Star Man EP, released in 1989, stands up well over time (especially considering how dated electronic music can sound after a few years of evolution), and is evidence of Meat Beat Manifesto's influence on subsequent electronica movements of the '90s. Fusing Foetus' abrasively experimental industrial approach, hip-hop's sampling, and techno's breakbeats, MBM's hypnotic electronic chaos was ahead of its time. ~ Andy Hinds
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Electronic/Dance - Released February 19, 2018 | Play It Again Sam

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Electronic/Dance - Released February 19, 2018 | Play It Again Sam

$3.49

Electronic/Dance - Released February 19, 2018 | Play It Again Sam