1 January, 2001@12:00 am
Dan The Automator’s latest foray into the world of alt.rock (or whatever) is not only a spin-off of the Handsome Boy Modeling School project, but also a quick follow-up to the surprise hit of the year, Gorillaz. In the long-standing tradition of many a sensitive male compiling mix CD’s of randy selections from Portishead, Air, Garbage, Mono, Radiohead, Unkle ,and others (don’t front), Automator’s newest disc attempts to do the seduction for you, without having to sift through crappy tracks like “Slimcea Girl” (sorry Mono).
Music To Make Love To Your Old Lady By attempts to be just what says it is, as Automator constructs dirty hip-hop beats for Mike Patton (Faith No More) and Jennifer Charles’ (Elysian Fields) love canvas. The couple is at their best when trading lines on a slow-sleazy-steamy cover of Berlin’s “Sex (I’m A..)”, or original selections like “Book Of The Month”, with innuendos abound, as the two trade “You are the trick / I am the treat / You are the circus / I am the freak”. The duo excels on solo selections as well, as Jen shines especially on the sultry-swanky, “Strangers On A Train”, or as Patton plays the part of the sorrowed seductress on “Anger Management”. Meanwhile, DJ Kid Koala creates kooky collages of familiar vocal samples stretching from The Godfather to The Pharcyde , while ingeniously inserting turntable manipulated tones and sampled harmonicas on “Everyone Has A Summer”, (an obvious homage to “I’m Wild About That Thing” from fellow Ninja Tune duo, Coldcut).
Automator’s addictive charm and natural sample mosaics of aural sex furthers “To Catch A Thief”, “Lifeboat”, and “Pit Stop (Take Me Home)”, ingeniously reinventing a platform for two more rock stars left in the nineties, as he did for Blur’s Damon Albarn on Gorillaz . Thankfully, he doesn’t take the idea of a sex soundtrack too seriously, inserting tidbits of trademark Automator sarcasm, (found on every release since Dr. Octagon), whether it’s the subtly perverted sounds of nature on “Lies and Alibis” or philosophies from “well known sexperts”, Prince Paul, Damon Albarn, Afrika Bambaataa, and Maseo Of De La Soul, inserted throughout. While Automator has transcended hip-hop music with both this release and Gorillaz, the influence of the hip-hop trained producer is felt throughout this otherwise rock release.
But the question remains. Does it hold up? Is this CD truly worthy of being the soundtrack to your late night, fun-filled rendezvous’? While it may garner a few weird looks at times, like when the two vocalists climax, then cuss each other out, on “Sex (I’m A.)”, or when Afrika Bambaataa recommends washing your ass on “Herbs, Good Hygene, And Socks”, for the most part, it certainly can qualify as Music To Make Love To Your Old Lady By. And even if Automator’s weird sense of humor confuses your lady, there’s an instrumental version of the album that works just as well.
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