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DJ Yoda “Chop Suey” – Album Review

Hailed as one of the greatest turntablists of his generation, London’s DJ Yoda, aka Duncan Beiny, has previously showcased his jaw-dropping cut and paste skills on mix-tapes focusing specifically on genres as unlikely as country and 1930s big band. So it comes as little surprise to see that his belated second studio album, Chop Suey, features the kind of guest line-up that redefines the word “random.”

Ever wondered what a dancehall-led collaboration between kitchen sink rapper Roots Manuva and 80s ‘Tropical Gangster’ Kid Creole & The Coconuts would sound like? Or how Police Academy’s sound effects maestro Michael Winslow would fare on a Jazzmatazz-inspired instrumental? Or how Trans-Siberian March Band would transfer their Balkan gypsy swing to a big slab of early 90s acid-rave? Wonder no more as the follow-up to 2006’s The Amazing Adventures of DJ Yoda is perhaps even more playful, intriguing and utterly bonkers as its predecessor.

The old-skool breakbeat of “Charlie Sheen” is every bit as demented as the Anger Management star’s infamous “winning” rant. The title track is the Avalanches’ “Frontier Psychiatrist” as remixed by a Chinese food-obsessed drum-n-bass-head. Meanwhile, the sun-soaked dub of “Rudies” is interrupted by a bombastic techno riff which could have escaped from an early 2 Unlimited record.

These oddball offerings will inevitably grab the most attention, but it’s in the less cartoonish moments where Chop Suey excels. Under the guise of A Boy Called George, the swirling synth-heavy chillout of “Happy” proves that the Culture Club frontman remains one of the UK’s most under-rated vocalists. Featuring little more than a military drum roll and the sermon-like tones of Scroobius Pip, “Sega R.I.P.” is an inspired ode to the classic consoles of yesteryear which will strike a chord with anyone who wasted their youth on playing Ecco The Dolphin and Toejam and Earl. “Big Trouble In Little China” is a classy slice of orchestral hip-hop which pares the abrasive tones of New York chef-turned-rapper Action Bronson with the lavish soulful voice of Alice Russell.

Named by Q Magazine as one of the Top 10 DJs to see before you die, DJ Yoda’s turntable skills were already unquestionable. But Chop Suey proves he’s just as adept at making records as he is spinning them.


4 / 5 stars     

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About the Author


Jon O'Brien's love of music began as a six-year-old after becoming bizarrely transfixed with the 80s poodle rock of Heart, Europe and Def Leppard. Switching his attention to pop icon Michael Jackson, he then became addicted to the UK Top 40, becoming a rather pointless walking Wikipedia of chart positions in the process. Driving his poor neighbors up the wall while learning to play the drums as a teen, he toyed with the idea of becoming a musician, but in studying Journalism at the University of Central Lancashire, he realized heÕd rather write about music than perform it. Since then, he's written thousands of reviews and biographies on everything from bubblegum pop to death metal, but electronica remains his main passion, with everything from Aphex Twin to Zero 7 in his spare room-consuming record collection. Jon resides in northwest England near Liverpool.

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Posted in: Album Reviews, Electronic Music, Featured


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