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Jake Fairley 

Touch Not the Cat

Wednesday, Sep 8 2004
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When considering the divided nature of America, the "red states versus blue states" model is just the beginning. With guitars in the ascendant and DJs fighting for hard-won turf, the tussle between rockers and ravers is shaping up to be a 21st-century version of Quadrophenia. But Toronto's Jake Fairley sends a message of peace back to his native North America from his adopted home of Berlin, fusing German techno's chugging oom-pah-pah with the glittering glam-romp of T. Rex. Fairley came up producing thumping dance music for Europhilic dance floors, but on his new album synthesizers sound like overdriven guitars and techno's 4/4 stomp gives way to a swinging shuffle-beat bashed out on distorted, programmed drums. His sneering vocal style, cribbed straight from the Jesus and Mary Chain, is rawk enough to please the most rabid Strokes fans. But disenchanted ravers need not say, "Bah, Humbucker" -- there's enough minimalist precision in instrumental tracks like "Radiator" to satisfy advocates of machine music. Rave's not dead: It's just rocking and rolling in its grave.

About The Author

Philip Sherburne

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