The interspersed samples from the mouth of High Fidelity‘s self-serving record fetishist couldn’t be more fitting than they are along Mike Relm’s Radio Fryer mix CD. Relm’s honesty reveals not only a party-heavy LP collection, filling out fifty tracks of mashups, tributes, and fine-tuned turntablist skills on Radio Fryer, but also an occasional soul-baring manifesto: Under Relm’s guilty pleasures and quirky likes, there’s a love for records of all kinds.
Having once peddled unmentionables at Victoria’s Secret in order to buy more records, Bay Area deejay Mike Relm manned the decks in clubs and basement gatherings in the mid-1990s after breaking into the tight-knit prom and school-dance deejay circuit. In the late 1990s, Relm saw honors at the International Turntablist Federation USA competition, placed second in the world finals, eventually earned a spot in Doug Pray’s Scratch, and toured with Money Mark and Gift of Gab, among others. But Radio Fryer, an updated version of Relm’s Holiday Special mix, says as much. He calls each section of the mix “chapters” and runs down the titles in the sleeve to better explain where this portion of the tracklist comes from, in relation to pivotal moments in his coming-up.
Relm takes it way back to when Eddie Murphy wasn’t embarrassing, delivering Beverly Hills Cop’s “Axle F” in the first few minutes of Radio Fryer, with some cuts that lead into the White Stripes and eventually into “Billie Jean.” Just when “I Want You Back” had seen all the re-working action possible, Relm drops in on it with a Roc retrospective, lining up the vocals with “Beware of the Boys” and Young Gunz beats. The deck skills on Fryer are dazzling; Relm’s mash-up workouts are unexpected, exciting and professionally scripted. With quick breaks and scratches under Vince Guaraldi’s theme for Charlie Brown and a breathless jungle treatment of Coltrane, Fryer is magical, but it also rounds out the party.
Sure, Relm’s fixation on new wave can be compared to Spinbad’s, and his love for New Order, classic hip-hop and funk breaks are digestible and easily defendable. But Fryer’s unbridled weirdness isn’t as black and white. One of the most interesting “chapters” here deals with Danny Elfman. It’s not just a minute of Elfman: Relm dissects Tim Burton’s favorite composer, loading sharp snare and bass drum breaks into “This is Halloween” before doing the same for the decorated Pee Wee’s Big Adventure theme. The marvel doesn’t end there, though. Relm treks into Elfman’s older days, meshing his scores with the pop workings of Oingo Boingo. It’s creepy and wonderful, undoing the fact that he includes the so-bad-it’s-unfunny “Something 2 Dance 2” from Straight Outta Compton minutes later. Yuck.
Relm’s lengthy tribute to Joy Division closes the mix, and it won’t interest people who don’t have an Ian Curtis shrine above their bed. It’s an untouched, completely raw live set of Manchester’s misery marketers that lasts about eleven minutes. For the Joy Division advocate, it’s a treat, an unlikely exit from a skilled turntablist who makes love to records for more than an hour previous. In relation to the rest of the mix, it’s an outrageous risk that may not make the cut upon the next listen. Relm’s fervor for Joy Division is actually just another chapter of Radio Fryer, however, and since it isn’t mangled with beat juggling and scratches, maybe it’s tougher to see it as a part of the mix as a whole. But because it deviates from his technique showcasing a bit, this final chapter may in fact be more personal for Relm, void of his turntable tricks entirely, but rich with the consistency of Radio Fryer: the deejay’s love for music and seemingly limitless record fetishism.
“Relm and Josie with Attitude” MP3 (Right Click Save As)
‘Radio Fryer’ preview mix (Right Click Save As)Audio/video