Let's be honest here: look at that tracklist, it's a techno nerd's wet dream. Shangaan Shake's first disc, in particular, feels like a triumph of curation, of interpretation, of intercultural dialogue, of pretty much everything. Beginning with Mark Ernestus' fantastic throbbing dub techno sewer snake, we launch through Oni Ayhun's ecstatic drum machine mayhem, MMM's bass-heavy rave-techno, Peverelist's... whatever (it's awesome), Rashad & Spinn's frenetic footwork... you get the idea. Shangaan Shake plays nearly as well as it reads, and each track's incorporation of some sort of Shangaan Electro element (there's a lot of shared samples here) keeps things from feeling too scattershot.
There's too many highlights to possibly do justice to this thing without just writing an essay, but some bear mentioning. Actress provides two tracks here: one is a short electro-tinged number that worships at a submerged Drexciyan altar, but the other sounds like a welcome leftover from Splazsh, a whimpering house beat drenched in weepy electronics, while Hype Williams construct one of their warbly humidifiers. Then they flip it and reverse it for another two minutes, of course. Demdike Stare build a shuddering shamanic jam that could have been on Tryptych, and did I mention that whatever Peverelist is doing here is awesome?
Like any kind of various artists remix collection like this—especially one with two discs—there are bound to be some missteps, but in light of everything else they're forgivable. The ever-unpredictable Theo Parrish's twelve-minute contribution comes out tinny and disposable, RP Boo's remix is a sticky mess and the Ricardo Villalobos & Max Loderbauer offering, while consummately detailed, lacks a certain vitality found in the rest of the disc. But thirteen out of sixteen is nothing to sneeze at.
Shangaan Shake initially looks like a remix album but comes out feeling like a showcase for the most experimental and adventurous techno of the last few years. Look past the format and take the content on its own terms. You won't find much of anything comparable. We should expect nothing less from Honest Jon's at this point.
Tue / 6 Mar 2012
01. Mark Ernestus - Mark Ernestus Meets BBC
02. Oni Ayhun - Oni Ayhun Meets Shangaan Electro
03. Mmm - Mmm Meets Tshetsha Boys
04. Peverelist - Peverelist Meets Tshetsha Boys
05. DJ Rashad & DJ Spinn - DJ Rashad & DJ Spinn Meet Tshetsha Boys
06. Actress - Actress Meets Shangaan Electro
07. Old Apparatus - Old Apparatus Meets Shangaan Electro
08. Theo Parrish - Theo Parrish Meets Mancingelani
09. Demdike Stare - Demdike Stare Meets Shangaan Electro
10. Anthony Shake Shakir - Anthony Shake Shakir Meets BBC
11. Burnt Friedman - Burnt Friedman Meets Zinja Hlungwani
12. RP Boo - RP Boo Meets Shangaan Electro
13. Actress - Actress Meets Shangaan Electro 2
14. Hype Williams - Hype Williams Meets Shangaan Electro
15. Ricardo Villalobos & Max Loderbauer - Ricardo Villalobos & Max Loderbauer Meet Shangaan Electro
16. Mark Ernestus - Mark Ernestus Meets BBC Version