Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Double Dee & Steinski

  • The Payoff Mix/Lesson Two/Lesson 3 [Tommy Boy EP, 1985] A+

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Consumer Guide Reviews:

The Payoff Mix/Lesson Two/Lesson 3 [Tommy Boy EP, 1985]
Securing copyright waivers on the bits and pieces from which voluble media nut Steve Stein and hands-on groove technician Doug DeFranco construct their postindustrial dance collages proved such a nightmare that this isn't officially for sale. Bootlegs are showing up, though, which given the information barons' arbitrary usufruct is just. Mixing witty, knowledgeable mastermixes (comprising, say, "Apache," "I'll Tumble 4 Ya," and "Starski Live at the Disco Fever") with spoken-word interjections from the likes of Humphrey Bogart and Fiorello LaGuardia, it's speculative art in which question and answer are complementary functions of a very contemporary quasi-parodic tone--a tone you could call postmodernist if it wasn't so unpretentious and optimistic, so pop and maybe populist. Steinski provides cognitive dissonance, Double Dee a rhythmic logic as ineluctable as a whole greater than the sum of its parts. Half deconstruction and half celebration, this is a message of brotherhood for the age of media overload, disarming late capitalism with humor, know-how, access, and leftfield panculturalism. No wonder CBS wants to censor it. A+

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