Continuing in the noble tradition of Danger Mouse and his “Grey Album” come Cecil Otter and Swiss Andy – a.k.a. Wugazi. There’s no prizes for guessing who they like to mash up: The Wu-Tang Clan and Fugazi. The result of their prodigious tinkering, “13 Chambers”, has finally dropped – and it’s pretty much every bit as good as the sneak previews had suggested it was going to be.
The general response seems to have been a degree of surprise that it worked. Frankly, I’m more surprised that Jay-Z and The Beatles could be made to fit; this is basically the sound Linkin Park have been scratching at for fifteen years, after all (let’s just not mention “Collision Course”, okay?). Don’t get me wrong, though: the point is, it works. Opener “Sleep Rules Everything Around Me” (“I’m So Tired” meets “C.R.E.A.M.”) is good enough that I fully expected the rest of the album to be a let-down, but the quality just doesn’t let up.
This isn’t a direct album-album mix, despite the name, drawing tracks from across both artists’ discographies. That was good news for me, because as much as I like “13 Songs”, “Blueprint” is by a long way my favourite Fugazi track. And it gets featured, distilled with Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s “Brooklyn Zoo” to create “Shame On Blue”. And it kicks actual ass.
I’ve said it before, I’ve said “I’ve said it before” before, and I’m saying it again: playing two tracks at the same time does not impress me. The absolute precision with which Cecil and Andy have cut and snipped, trimmed and shaped these tracks is staggering. If you haven’t heard the originals before, let me warn you: when you do, you might end up wondering where the raps or the guitars have gone respectively, and you’ll probably miss them. This might be an exercise in sampling, but you’d better believe it is an original work that emerges at the end.
The whole album is available to download below, and it’s well worth the price tag. Obviously. Because it’s free. Go grab it.
“Sleep Rules Everything Around Me”
“Another Chessboxin’ Argument”
“Shame on Blue”
“Slow Like That”
“Nowhere to Wait”
“Last Chance for the Clientele Kid”