Alessio Argenteri, aka Mannaman, aka Blackjob evolved from his humble punk and hip hop roots in the late ‘80s as the formidable bass player for Papa Ricky & the Ganga Profits, and in the early to late ‘90s with Casino Royale, gaining certain levels of success with the latter’s single “Cose Difficili” from the Sempre Piu Vinci LP released on Blackout/Polydor. Casino Royale’s subsequent live record Crx notably displays the co-production skills of Primal Scream and Chemical Brothers affiliate, Death in Vegas honcho Tim Holmes.
Today sees a different side of Agenteri. From grain to grape, his taste refined. Preferring the thinning air of the echo chamber, drenched in reverb, Mannaman metamorphosizes spiritually to Blackjob. With dub ever-present, senses are heightened, allowing creativity to flow like a hot knife though aural butter.
Following last year’s excellent Trashdub album released on Original Cultures (a non-profit organization), they showcase their first release for 2013, the Trashdub Remixed EP, commissioning international remixing talent from Canada, France, Germany, Ireland and England.
“Rise Again (Moresounds dub) feat. Suz” commands attention. Parisian-born bongos beats and bass-lines maestro Moresounds twists the original into a dubbed-out tour de force. Beautifully detailed and drowning in reverb, the sweet yet predominant vocal delays rap around a simple piano fill with stealth, yet rarely veers from the integral Suz melody which flows like early Massive Attack or Morcheeba. This remix is heavy, and justifies the entry fee alone.
Bristolian bad-boy Sam Binga raises the tempo tenfold to a mighty 170 bpm on “Rise Again (Sam Binga remix) feat. Suz”, stealing all the percussion he can from the original while leaving only Hansel and Gretel crumbs of the vocal intact, scattering them randomly throughout the arrangement. Simple bass stabs confirm the dance before soft pads and purple-wow synths lighten the mood; with added swagger from 16-time hats, enter additional snare to solidify this peace into jungle territory.
Dublin-based producer, label owner, DJ, promoter and keeper of the seven keys – T-Woc is next ‘pon the desk. In a world full of despair, Blackjob brings out his softer side. On “MMD (T-Woc remix) feat. Suz”, sultry guitar samples and depressing snares make way for Suz to share the truly enormous spaces just begging to be filled. Tight synths squeeze out simple lines and tiny hats direct my ears closer to the speakers. While less is more, this track is teasingly short but perfectly formed.
“Rise Again feat. Suz (Danny Scrilla Remix)”. It’s no surprise really that Munich’s Danny Scrilla gets the controls. Signed to Om Unit’s on-it Cosmic Bridge label, and with the David Rodigan seal of approval, it’s all-area access. While side-chaining all around the bass drum, Scrilla introduces the first and only wobble on this EP. Filtered bass resonates while complimenting Suz’s voice throughout. While the poduction and arrangement values are good, it is not comparable to the mammoth Moresounds dub.
“MMD (Monolithium remix)”, the last remix of the night, is from Vancouverite Monolithium, keeping it disjointed with a slightly lo-fi mix. Scattering flying lotus percussion and orb-styled pads give shelter to hi hats and chopped vocals for what becomes the basis for a dubbed-out house roller, plodding along nicely from beginning to end while torrent synths add meat to the sandwich.
With an additional three original Blackjob tracks added, the MP3 release offers five tracks and six for wax.
If it were a race, Moresounds and T-Woc win Gold.