Podcast 347: Jokers of the Scene

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Jokers of the Scene isn't a new outfit—the Toronto pair has been remixing and releasing records since 2006—but until recently, the duo of Linus Booth and Chris Macintyre hadn't truly managed to distinguish itself. Despite the group's varied output, Jokers of the Scene often felt inextricably tied to the late-'00s bloghouse circuit, most likely due to the project's long-standing affiliation with the Fool's Gold imprint. As such, we were pleasantly surprised when the duo offered up End Scene, its first full-length, a few weeks back. The album, released by Throne of Kanada (a joint effort between the Throne of Blood and New Kanada labels) finds the JOTS boys significantly widening their musical palette, as the LP includes sophisticated nods toward classic house and techno, ambient music, and even some '80s pop. At its core, End Scene is a remarkably sophisticated listen, and one that gave us confidence that Booth and Macintyre were more than capable of putting together a quality mix for the XLR8R podcast series.

On the whole, our podcasts tend to be rather straightforward affairs, as most DJs simply strive to assemble a precisely mixed collection of club-ready tunes, perhaps with a few curveballs or forgotten classics thrown in to add a bit of color to the proceedings. Those sorts of mixes are all well and good, but Jokers of the Scene opted to put together something a little more elaborate. Make no mistake, it's not that the duo's mix is overly complex or that some kind of impressive technical approach has been implemented—some of the podcast's transitions don't even involve beatmatching—but when listening to the music on offer, it's clear that the pair sought to create a genuine listening experience. Over the course of more than 70 minutes, Booth and Macintyre spend plenty of time flirting with the dancefloor, but they never manage to completely set up shop there, preferring instead to indulge themselves in gauzy soundscapes or kitschy vintage electronic pop tropes. As a result, the podcast covers a lot of ground, yet one never gets the feeling that Jokers of the Scene are working without a map. After spending a number of years in the electronic wilderness, it seems that the duo has finally figured out exactly where it wants to go.

01 Larry Heard "Journey to Deimos" (Black Market International)
02 Alice Coltrane "Krishna Krishna" (Avatar Book Institute)
03 Jokers of the Scene "Stoned in Death Valley" (Throne of Kanada)
04 The KLF "Last Train to Trancentral (Pure Trance Version)" (KLF Communications)
05 Wally Badarou "Endless Race" (Island)
06 Wendy & Lisa "Honeymoon Express (Honeymoon Instrumental)" (Columbia)
07 Sheila E "Koo Koo (Remix)" (Paisley Park)
08 K. Leimer "Entre'acte" (RVNG Intl.)
09 Jokers of the Scene "Risk Business" (Throne of Kanada)
10 Ryuichi Sakamoto "Adelic Penguins" (Midi Inc.)
11 The Rotating Assembly "Orchestra Hall" (Sound Signature)
12 808 State "Lift" (Tommy Boy)
13 Jokers of the Scene "Endless Scene 2.1" (Mount Analog)
14 Haruomi Hosono with Friends for Earth "SFX" (Teichiku)
15 Portion Control "Raise the Pulse" (Illuminated)
16 Kissing the Pink "Mr. Blunt" (Magnet)
17 David Sylvian "Home" (Virgin)

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