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James T. Cotton The Dancing Box

Tadd Mullinix is one versatile and scary mofo. After smacking around drum and bass (with Soundmurderer) as SK-1 and hip hop as Dabrye, he transforms into James T. Cotton to delve deep into the dark heart of classic house and techno. But where Dabrye assembled hip hop out of small, clean squares of sound, here Mullinix takes the appealing structures born in Chicago and Detroit and pushes them off-balance with raw bits of noise and repetitive samples precision-engineered to induce nervousness and ecstasy in equal quantities. "The Drain" is acid house gutted and drained, leaving acid lines cruelly ping-ponged between the beats. "Distant Trip" detunes in your ears even as your feet mirror its shuffle. James Cotton's 808s tick away, but the expected release goes unfulfilled-instead of looking up and waving into the lights, you stare down at the gritty concrete floor with jaw clenched, body pummeled by sound.

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