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By Andy Argyrakis
Meat Beat Manifesto dances to a dub step direction
"One on One"
Aug. 4, 2008
Anyone who's ever stepped foot in an American or European dance club has certainly heard the ever evolving sounds of Meat Beat Manifesto. Throughout the past twenty years, the brainchild of beat creator Jack Dangers has delivered a string of innovative singles (including "Strap Down," "Psyche Out," "Radio Babylon" and "Edge of No Control") spanning the gamut of techno, trip-hop, alternative dance and industrial long before they hit the mainstream. The troupe's latest offering Autoimmune (Metropolis) continues in its unpredictable direction, diving deep into dub step, toying with jazz, experimenting with electronica, tipping a hat towards hip-hop and throwing in a trance tune or two.
"This album started more or less two years ago and was originally going to be a double CD with about twenty-eight tracks, but I shaved it down and picked the most interesting ones," says the U.K. bred/San Francisco transplanted Dangers. "I've always tried to look around the corner and look ahead [of the trends] and a lot of the stuff on this album would fit in the dub step category. On the American version [which has a different track listing from the European edition], there are a couple tracks that are definitely more hip-hop influenced and inspired, though they're more old school than new."
Outside of dominating dance with his superb sonic spread, Dangers is delivering a socially conscious message by naming the album Autoimmune. He treats the word in this context as a metaphor for environmental decay, which couldn't be any more timely in this season of green. "The world is trying to repair itself, but is ultimately failing to do so because of how we're treating it," he observes. "We're seeing more and more natural disasters that seem to be getting worse every time they happen. Personally in my life, I'm a vegetarian and I don't drive or own a car. California is probably one of the worst places to live without a vehicle, but I make ends meet."
Having a home studio helps minimize Dangers' commute, allowing him to work on material for Meat Beat Manifesto or outside projects whenever he feels the urge. And as the multi-faceted entertainer's amassed additional prominence throughout the club scene, his services have been increasingly demanded from a lengthy list of A-listers. Production/remix credits span the diverse palate of Public Enemy, David Bowie, Nine Inch Nails, David Byrne, Depeche Mode, Tower of Power, Bush, The Bee Gees and even The Matrix soundtrack.
"Usually when you remix for an artist, it's pretty anonymous, but the coolest person I ever met when working on one was probably David Bowie," he recalls. "I grew up idolizing him- he was a hero of mine in 70s- and also one of few people I did a remix for that actually wanted to get together for a drink! It was surprising he wanted to do that, but I was like 'sure I'll hang out,' and not only was a he a really nice bloke, but it turned out to be one my most memorable career moments."