Despite the static-filled, distorted beats that form the backbone of most glitch-hop, from Prefuse 73 to Melk, the general effect is aurally appealing. In fact, Prefuse’s major accomplishment has been his ability to create songs that are almost totally devoid of humanity but come across just as warm and lived-in as the vinyl clicks shimmying their way through the average DJ Premier beat.
So dDamage’s Shimmy Shimmy Blade is that much more startling. At first it’s hard to put a finger on what makes the record so different, but as raining drum bombs crash to the ground and synth explosions pulse in the distance, it becomes evident that this is a full-on assault. The rappers that put in guest appearances don’t seem welcomed for collaboration so much as annihilation. MF Doom fares the best, on “My Favourite Ladies Part 2,” a track that might be the only song you might see on a different record. But Mike Ladd drowns admirably around the jumping beat that rushing into his verses on “Alphabet and Burners,” and Bigg Jus of Company Flow deals with what might the strangest beat he’s ever been up against (and that’s saying a lot). Meanwhile, Existereo explodes all over the opening title track, the best three and a half minutes you missed in 2006.
The truth is that there is just as much jungle and punk in Shimmy Shimmy Blade as there is hip-hop. Unsurprisingly, the duo is French, the same nationality of Justice and the Ed Banger label, which is creating a new form of hardcore electro-punk that has yet to find the proper buzzword (you can’t put “mindfuckery” in the New York Times). Though there is a lot less house in dDamage’s work, and they were probably smoking a lot more weed than they were snorting coke over the mixing boards, the comparison is pretty evident-and pretty exciting. This is dance music that is aggressive, distractingly affected and heart-pumpingly awesome. All we can do is ask for more just like it.