If Captain Beefheart enlisted the glitch-hop enthusiasts from TigerBeat6 to record an album of gospel music, it would probably resemble Soul-Junk’s recent work. Rocking hugely cut-up beats alongside avant-garde freak-outs and occasional glimpses of melody, Soul-Junk has pioneered the “skip-hop” genre. Both inspiring and inspired, the group — comprised of founding member Glenn Galloway (a.k.a. Galaxalog, a.k.a. Glen Galaxy) and Michael Kaufmann (a.k.a. Slo-Ro, a.k.a. Slowly Rotating Fan) — has always made a point of representing its genuine creativity through massive experimentation unmatched by its peers.
The band formed in 1994 after Galloway converted to Christianity and quit Trumans Water, the noise band he had drummed in for two years. Originally a solo project, Soul-Junk has evolved through periods of avant-garde and noise-rock to its current obsession with glitched-out post-hip-hop. Throughout its career, Soul-Junk has put out twenty-two releases, all of which have been named after years and some of which have included appearances by Daniel Smith, Sufjan Stevens and Viva Voce. With a strong focus on religion, lyrical sincerity and auditory innovation, Soul-Junk has demonstrated its need to invent countless times.
1937 is Soul-Junk’s most ambitious release to date. Though technically a remix album, the record plays out more like a futuristic jam session. Rocking hugely cut-up beats alongside avant-garde freak-outs and occasional glimpses of melody, artists such as Aelters (DAT Politics), Themselves, and Create (!) reinterpret the group’s work to heightened levels of extremity. With Soul-Junk reinterpreting some tracks as well, this impressive cast of artists deconstructs hip-hop to bizarre new levels.
By offering a variety of textured sounds while retaining a coherent flow, the record is a success. Standout tracks include Hairspray or No?’s “Poolfullofstatic” remix of “Jelly Wings,” Evig Poesi’s mike skills on “NOVA,” and Leafcutter John’s fluxed-out version of “Canhop.” Without question, 1937 makes final the reverent and genre-bending art that the group has sought to achieve since its beginning.
This is purported to be the final release from Slo-Ro and Galaxalog under the name Soul-Junk. But with their most aspiring projects still to come, this is far from disappointing. Slo-Ro, now recording as MC Ponderosa, is set to begin work on a project with Kidnastypup. As well, Galaxalog has purportedly set out to put the Bible, word for word, to backing beats and noise. These two represent a brand of ambitious artistry that, however difficult to find, is immensely rewarding.