When you consider the artists associated with the term “Intelligent Dance Music,” the label is somewhat of a conundrum; the idea of someone racing to the club floor for Boards of Canada or Squarepusher is simply head-scratching (and chin-stroking, pun intended). An amendment is in order, as the songs of Berlin-based trio Sasha Perera, Oren Gerlitz and Robot Koch aka Jahcoozi comfortably fits with “music that moves your body, lyrics that stimulate your cerebral cortex.”
Largely eschewing the rapid-fire glitch, lo-fi grime and dancehall rhythms of their previous albums, the group hinges the latest chapter of their (r)evolution to a half-time dubstep aesthetic, though carving their own notches into the monstrous wobbling sub-frequencies, spacious chords, echoing claps and textural virtuosity of said genre. That is, beats and bass makers Koch and Gerlitz place their stamp by poking holes with faded Melotron and shimmering accordion blips (for their cover of The Cure’s “Close to Me”), tempo shifts (“Read the Books”) and reverse Gamelan (“Wasteland”). Matching the mood, Perera is less jabbing and overtly political than before, now appearing as a chilly, anesthetized queen who accepted the tumult of her people and settled on patient indifference.
Wait, they slowed down the tempo and the MC favors metaphors over calling out obese teenagers (“Gameboy,” from Pure Breed Mongrel) and cultures that forbid virgins from the use of tampons for hymen preservation (“Asia Bride Magazine” from Blitz ‘n’ Ass)? Isn’t this counterintuitive to the draw of Jahcoozi? No: the trio – plus guests M. Sayyid, Barbara Panther, Uko Flani and Guillermo Brown – prove that they are as effective with the aural mystique and hypnosis perpetuated by Lee “Scratch” Perry and Massive Attack’s Mezzanine as they are with making audiences lose their minds on the dance floor.