Mix and match

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Musicreviews -

DIPLO & SAN­TO­GOLD Top Rank­ing – A Diplo Dub Mad De­cent There are times when his­tory re­peats it­self. Back in 2004, a mix­tape called Piracy Funds Ter­ror­ism be­gan to do the rounds fea­tur­ing bang­ing remixes of tracks from M.I.A.’s as-then un­re­leased de­but album, Aru­lar. The mix­tape was the hand­i­work of Diplo, a Florida DJ and pro­ducer, and it cre­ated a buzz of an­tic­i­pa­tion ahead of the re­lease of Aru­lar.

Fast-for­ward four years and Top Rank­ing is zip­ping around the houses as fast as peo­ple can down­load it. This time, the source tracks come from San­to­gold’s self-ti­tled de­but album, the one which was re­leased ear­lier this sum­mer to huge ac­claim. Diplo is again at the con­trols and, again, the re­sults are as­ton­ish­ing.

Of course, there are some dif­fer­ences be­tween the two mix­tapes. For a start, most lis­ten­ers are al­ready well familiar with San­to­gold’s sassy, swag­ger­ing stew of rock, reg­gae and r’n’b. In be­tween th­ese two re­leases, Diplo’s star has risen to the ex­tent that he’s now es­tab­lished as the go-to guy for buck­wild, booty-full pro­duc­tions and remixes, while his in­volve­ment with Brazil’s baile funk mu­sic-mak­ers brought the spot­light to bear on that scene.

Top Rank­ing is a head-turn­ing mix. Diplo puts a new spin on recog­nis­able fare by dex­ter­ously re­cast­ing San­to­gold’s tracks as deep, bub­bly dubs. There are some lovely mo­ments, like a ver­sion of Lights Out by way of Panda Bear and a new take on I’m a Lady with Philly lady Amanda Black do­ing some fine hol­ler­ing. There’s also a bliss­ful cover of The Clash’s Guns of Brix­ton, re­done as Guns of Brookyln.

Top Rank­ing works be­cause Diplo stitches San­to­gold’s work into a big­ger ta­pes­try, which also fea­tures dub­step from Skream, reg­gae chat­ting from War­rior Queen and Sis­ter Nancy, proper soul from Aretha Franklin, Big Easy slink­i­ness from Dixie Cups, and new-wave sass from Devo. The sum­mer may have blanked Ire­land this year, but the sound­track has cer­tainly ar­rived. www.mad­de­cent.com

Diplo puts a new spin on San­to­gold’s swag­ger­ing stew of rock, reg­gae and r’n’b

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