Disciples of Plunderphonics pioneer John Oswald and U2/Casey Kasem–baiters Negativland, the Evolution Control Committee really don't give a fuck about precious copyright laws. As one of the music world's foremost flouters of said strictures, they blithely mash up Britney Spears and Led Zeppelin, AC/DC and Dan Rather, Public Enemy and Herb Alpert, as well as the cultural output of other prominent and obscure figures for comedic and social-commentary ends. Radical sonic juxtapositions often are their own rewards, and ECC—led by Mark Gunderson—revel in the novel jolt that such free-floating détourning sparks.
Of course, nobody in the San Francisco group is reaping big monetary gains by subverting record-biz protocol regarding sampling and appropriation, but ECC listeners definitely are richer for the experience—although fans of Herbie Hancock's "Rockit" probably won't be happy with ECC's "Fock It." Ultimately, ECC view everything as fair game for their aural mulching apparatus, and calls to stifle them seem petty and spoilsporty.
Unlike ECC, British DJ/producer James Holden goes through the proper channels to present his rampant eclecticism, and his legit form of it is worth full immersion, too. For this tour, Holden is supporting the new DJ-Kicks (!K7), and it's one of the most adventurous entries in the long-running mix series.
Holden is best known for his trance and progressive-house productions and for running the excellent Border Community label and remixing Britney Spears (her again) and Depeche Mode. He's also released a challenging album of eccentric club fodder titled The Idiots Are Winning. However, it's doubtful anyone saw the sublimely diverse sprawl of DJ-Kicks coming.
Holden begins the disc with the introspective idyllictronica of Piano Magic before shifting into the urgently percolating disco of Grackle, Mordant Music, and Maserati. Caribou's Steve Reich–ian "Lemon Yoghurt" serves as a bridge to Luke Abbott's Cluster-esque fantasia "Soft Attacks" and Holden's grandiosely tribal remix of Mogwai's "The Sun Smells Too Loud"—an early peak.
Holden then heads down stranger paths, with cuts by Kieran Hebden/Steve Reid, Ursula Bogner, Black Dice's Eric Copeland, and Arp bubbling and bleeping into abstractly electronic netherzones, the faint pulsations barely triggering a head-nod. Holden doesn't seem to care if he loses the floor; he's after the upper reaches of your highest mind. Lucky Dragons up the tempo with a mesmerizing gamelan bastardization, which leads into yet another Holden highlight, "Triangle Folds," a gorgeous, chiming microhouse track that triggers E-peaking flashbacks. From there, DJ-Kicks taps into more typical dance-floor tropes, but Holden maintains a subtle tone that stresses hypnotic states and swoonworthy melodies, all the way through to the mix's swirling, ambient conclusion.
The Evolution Control Committee perform with the Bran Flakes, Erik Blood on Fri July 2, Chop Suey, 9 pm, $10 adv/$12 DOS, 21+; James Holden performs with DJ Eva, Adlib vs. Levi Clark on Sat July 3, Neumos, 9 pm, $12, 21+.