12″, Mash Up Soundsystem, 2009
“Expect the unexpected” could well be the motto for the Mash Up Records label and artists collective, and their new release, the 5-track 12″ compilation “Get A:Head”, illustrates this quite well with a music selection that some would consider paradoxical.
Side A of this release was left essentially in the hands of Scottish veteran producer Element Abuse, who opens hostilities with “Oxna”, a furious mélange of poly-rhythms and cut-up voice samples overlying a surprisingly calm soundscape – a piece which is perhaps the most in-your-face track on this release. He follows suit remixing “Purpose Aches”, by fellow Scottish artist Helicopterface, with a similar aesthetic approach.
In contrast, Side B begins in a rather laidback fashion with a smooth electro-acoustic piece by Concrete Cookie, in collaboration with cellist Laura Cetilia and guitarist Marc Thomas, titled “Dry Red Shard”, while “Positive Collide”, Helicopterface’s second contribution, comes across as an intense piece of metallic background and percussion over a brooding soundscape intermeshed with shifting rhythmic patterns. “Mean a Swing”, by Brazilian experimentalist Retrigger, is the decidedly oddball track on this release, a crazy but meticulous patchwork of sampling and rhythmic patterns for which Retrigger shamelessly grabbed musical elements and influences wherever he could; it’s a track which leaves the listener wanting more.
For home listening, this release is unfortunately too short (especially considering the two-sided vinyl format) and may well leave the listener craving additional material – with some luck, perhaps the Mash Up Records collective will consider a follow up, full-length release. “Get A:Head” also seems to have clear potential as a tool for DJs (especially in the breakcore and related fields), with a relatively broad scope of material that can be utilized for melodic or rhythm building – plus Retrigger’s inspiring piece of insanity.
— Miguel de Sousa