(Orange Milk, 2017)
“Breakdito!” you might yelp with a mouthful of DinosauriosTM, because General Mills finally listened to my impassioned pleas via thousands of angry emails to corporate headquarters to produce a dinosaur-themed cereal. Or at least that’s what my five-year-old son would have you think, but in reality “Dinosaurios” is a crazy track among eight other crazy tracks on a constant whippet-high of a cassette by producer El Murki called, you guessed it, Breakadito. You slap a sticker that says “footwork” on an MP3, does it really do anything other than ruin your computer screen? Because that’s what I did – I totally forgot there’s “genre” metadata that can be filled in on my iTunes, and it wasn’t even a sticker, it was a label with industrial-strength adhesive. I have a labelmaker, sometimes I feel the need to use it, so … my MacBook Pro is probably ruined, isn’t it.
LISTEN. Footwork is a frame of reference, but I typed “fotowork” before that, and I might as well be developing disposable film, as the result is essentially the same – fractured visuals meet fractured sonics. You even pay the same amount – I think. (When was the last time anybody got film developed? Did it cost $7.00? That’s what this tape costs.) El Murki’s concept of rhythm is just as philosophically unsound as labelmate Foodman’s, and maybe even more futuristic. No, who am I kidding, Foodman is the vanguard, El Murki can be the co-vanguard into the unspeakable realm of madness. Unspeakably awesome, that is! El Murki configures his sound sources like a surgeon (god I just caught a whiff of a Weird Al reference right now), slicing and dicing sonics with scalpel-like precision until they’re in ribbons on the floor surrounding his desktop. But since they’re ribbons of audio program files, the floor is metaphorical, but they’re still not easy to recombine into the Frankenstein’s monster that is Breakadito. But instead of Peter Boyle responding to Gene Wilder’s insistent stomps to bellow a variation of “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” this abomination skitters around the lab like a B-movie centipede or something.
That’s right, El Murki is all rhythm and vocal samples – well, not all, I guess, but those are the two things that immediately jump out at you. Your attention is invariably constantly in motion, like someone set fire to your shoe but you have to play the marimba in Lionel Hampton’s band or whatever, and you have to keep playing to retain your job at this Panamanian resort, but you also don’t want to be burnt to a crisp. It’s so stressful! Luckily you can channel that kind of kinetic energy into your playing, and you can even get a little virtuosic, a little experimental because you’re literally on fire and everybody will understand. That’s sort of what El Murki’s peddling on Breakdito – it’s the cassette tape that says “It’s OK to be on fire, as long as you squeeze some decent artistic expression out of it.” Couldn’t agree more, kiddo. Welcome to the big leagues.