The Hollertronix twelve-inch series started as an outlet for producer/deejays Diplo and Low Budget’s mash-ups and assorted dance-floor remix experiments. But as Diplo’s star has risen, the series has become anchored to his activities and his collaborations. Hence, Low B has slid to the side to make room for A-Trak, Kenny Meez (Federation), and other fellas on the rise. For the seventh volume, Diplo introduces the Boogie Down Bottle-Nose Dolphins, his collaboration with DJ Eli Escobar. Each man contributes three cuts of neo-B’more remixes and edits that are individually pleasing but collectively comprise one of the strongest volumes in the series.
By the standards of previous Hollertronix twelve-inches, Diplo contributes predictable material: “Betty” is the ironic nostalgia, a simple loop of Kim Carnes’s “Bette Davis Eyes” over B’more drums and other au courant pop references (Pitbull, Huey). “Work Never Out” re-ups the requisite current pop hit (Kanye’s “Stronger”/Daft Punk’s “Harrder, Better, Faster, Stronger”). And “Groove Is in the Dick” revisits (for the umpteenth time) the overplayed Deee-Lite dance-floor staple.
On the flip, Eli Escobar, who has been working the New York City circuit and now has a foothold in every venerable club across the city, picks up the slack with choice selection and expert edits. He acquiesces to fickle Facebook/MySpace tastes by artfully reworking Justice’s “D.A.N.C.E.” so that it sound like something besides Kanye and Daft Punk (a.k.a. Hipster Candy). However, he also pulls out a couple gems for both the cool kids and the old heads: Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” and Ralphi Rosario’s Windy City classic “You Used to Hold Me.” The former pairs MJ’s staccato delivery with punchy B’more drums/handclaps that breathe some much-needed life into this neo-pop hit. Better still is Rosario’s acid-laden hit, which Eli Escobar pares down to sinister synths, drums and a chopped-up vocal.
To its credit, the entire EP builds steam in a well-calculated manner. For deejays it’s a handy, six-track micro-set, and for casual listeners it’s a mini morning-commute blend. The combination of good sound (per his usual, Diplo adds volume-eleven boom to his mixes) and patient pacing (Escobar times his edits with such care) is a rarity in a field saturated with inexperienced bedroom producers.