A collection of individual commissions.
Louis Pattison 2009-01-23
Decent Work For Decent Pay finds globe-trotting producer and sometime M.I.A beatmaker Wes Dipl’ Pentz on a remix tip, adding his own bass-heavy, ghetto-pop fingerprints to tracks by everyone from booty-rappers Spank Rock to whistle-along Swedes Peter, Bjorn & John. The result is an album that’s far from feeling like a complete statement, but at its best, there’s still much here to suggest Diplo is one of the more flexible, inspired producers at work today.
This comp’s at is best when Diplo’s working on tracks that play to his strengths: namely, rowdy, slightly sleazy party-starters with room for a heavier undercarriage. Immediately lovable are refixes of Spank Rock’s ‘Put That Pussy On Me’ and Bonde Do Role’s Solta O Frango, keeping the upbeat spirit of the originals but adding dirty bass and other sly production flourishes. An unlikely highlight, meanwhile, is the mix of Black Lips Veni Vidi Vic, which homes in on the drawled Latino vibe of the original, replacing dusty guitar twang with a martial, Baile Funk-influenced snare step.
There’s other times, though, where you feel Pentz’s lack of affinity for the material results in tracks that don’t quite work. A remix of Bloc Party’s Where Is Home? falters somewhat, the original’s claustrophobic angst a weird fit to pounding 4/4 beats and wobbly bass. Elsewhere, he just about gets away with it, but only by all but obliterating the original track: a take on Hot Chip's Shake A Fist sees Alexis Taylor’s syrupy sing-song totally disassembled, while the mix of Daft Punk's Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger dispenses with everything but vocoder chorus, rebuilding the track with bursts of junglist drums and snappy snare.
Ultimately, Decent Work For Decent Pay is no more or less than its title suggests – a collection of individual commissions, executed well but not meant to work as a whole, and first-timers looking for a document of Diplo in party mode might do better to look to his still-peerless 2005 Fabric Live mix.