Henry Rollins KCRW Show June 16, 2012
It is difficult, if not impossible to do justice to a Stooges song. It's one of those cases where the original is just fine and needs no other interpretation. That being said, now and then, someone takes a song to another place and makes it interesting. I think the Doctor Mix and the Remix versions of "No Fun" are really cool, as is the Sex Pistols version for sheer force and the vocals of Johnny Rotten.

Steve Albini: Trying to sound like the Beatles (...) Why can’t people try to sound like (...) Metal Urbain (...) for a change? ( The Problem With Music. The Bafler 1994)

Jim Reid: We always liked rock & roll bands that used drum machines and another huge influence on the Mary Chain at the time was the album by Dr Mix and the Remix and that to us just sounded mental, a feedback frenzy with a tiny little drum machine bopping all the way through it. It sounded great. That kinda sound always interested us, like Suicide and stuff. Looking back on it now, the mistake we made with the drum machines was that we tried to make them like real drums; we should have left them sounding cheap and drum machine-like but we didn’t. (-A Quietus Interview - The Jesus And Mary Chain Interview: Alan McGee, Oasis And The Future 2008)

Jello Biafra: "Panik" on Side A was very angry punk, but not like any punk we'd ever heard before. I loved the screaming synth noises and the pissed-off French lyrics. I could not understand French, but it completely destroyed the idea that the French could not rock because the language did not fit the music. Now French was a fiery punk weapon. But the real shock was the B-side, "Lady Coca-Cola." It was not really punk, more an attack of pure noise. Maybe a little Heldon/R. Pinhas, but more like being attacked by dentist's drills coming out of the stereo—wow! These guys weren't just different, they were insane. I wonder what Jean-Michel Jarre fans thought of this.

Blissblog June 16, 2004
Simon Reynolds
This Metal Urbain spin off is where Jesus & Mary Chain nicked all their ideas from.

Flyer July 2004
Dave Segal
Of all the Acute reissues revolving around French electro-punks Metal Urbain (MU's Anarchy in Paris! and Metal Boys' Tokio Airport), Doctor Mix and the Remix's Wall of Noise is the least essential, though it still has its charms. Led by surly croaker Eric Debris, Doctor Mix emerged in 1979 hellbent on revamping nuggets from underground rock's canon to their own warped specs. Doctor Mix's covers of songs like Stooges' 'No Fun', David Bowie's 'Supermen', the Troggs' 'I Can't Control Myself' and the overdone 'Hey Joe' strike a peculiar blend of irreverence and respect. Submerging Roxy Music's 'Grey Lagoons' in gallons of eerie analog-synth gurgle and drone. DR render it unrecognizable from the original on For Your Pleasure. Meanwhile, on 'No Fun' and the Seeds' 'Out of the Question', DR's steel-wool guitar howls and metronomic drum-machine attack draw the blueprint Jesus & Mary Chain took to the alt-rock bank. With their sinister 'tude and menacing swagger, Doctor Mix came on like Suicide and Chrome with a retro fetish. Pity about their originals, though.

Other Music July 14, 2004
Gerald Hammill
Acute finally releases the third and final piece of their Metal Urbain trilogy featuring all of the Doctor Mix recordings. Following the departure of singer Clode Panik, the remaining three members of Metal Urbain morphed the band into two identities: the new wave electro hybrid of the Metal Boys, and an even more primitive metallic scraped ruckus under the name of Doctor Mix, a solo project of sorts for Eric Debris.
Recorded on his four-track, the earliest single, a cover of the Stooges "No Fun," was in fact older Metal Urbain material with Debris playing the part of Iggy Pop. The sound pushed their buzz-punk drum machine assault further into psychedelic garage rock territory. Soon to follow was the December 1979 Rough Trade release of Wall of Noise, an obvious nod to Phil Spector. Classics like David Bowie's "Supermen," "Out of the Question" and Six Dreams" by the Seeds, Velvet Underground's "Sister Ray" and the Trogg's "I Can't Control Myself" would be drenched by white noise, squelching feedback, and of course primitive, chugging metronomic beats. (The Jesus and Mary Chain would later list this album as among their all time favorites.)
Over the next few years, members would come and go, Debris still leading the charge. His follow-up would come by way of the Psychedelic Desert EP which included a cover of Vincent Taylor's "Brand New Cadillac." Far less abrasive, even the two originals seemed to have more in common with the electro-pop of the Metal Boys. By the early-'80s, Doctor Mix would call it a day after playing a string of shows with a line-up that included PiL's Jim Walker, and Daniel Miller of the Normal and also the founder of Mute Records.
This final piece of the Metal Urbain trilogy is my favorite of the three. Featuring both the Wall of Noise LP and the Psychedelic Desert EP, as well as rare and lost songs, every track that was recorded under the Doctor Mix moniker is included. Seminal may be too heavy of a descriptor, but pioneering certainly fits when describing Debris and his French comrades' body of work - music which artists from JAMC to Steve Albini to the Severed Heads are seriously indebted to.

xlr8r August 2004
Alexis Georgopoulos
Dr. Mix, the last in the line of newly reissued Metal Urbain projects, also revels in the shock-joy of pure electricity and texture. With drum machines and guitars in tow, the French group romps through covers of The Stooges, The Seeds, Velvet Underground and Bowie, sharing its sparse approach with Suicide and laying the seeds for Spaceman 3, Jesus & Mary Chain, and the rest of the drone rock contingent that continues to this day.

Pitchfork Media July 21, 2004
Mark Richardson
My slow crawl around the world in search of new music from the past-- a crawl that finds me falling further behind with each passing minute, as thousands of records in an uncountable number of styles continue to find their way in and out of record bins-- has not yet taken me to the French punk/new-wave scene of the late 70s. And there's a good chance I'll never get there, since punk was never something I identified with much, and I've even been sluggish about hearing all the important stuff released by countries that speak my own language. Given my slight background in the Continental new-wave of the late 70s, I can't tell you exactly where Frenchman Eric Debris, who was a member of Metal Urbain before he started recording solo as Dr. Mix and the Remix in 1979, fits in. But listening to this compilation of his complete works under this alias, I can tell you he was onto something pretty great.
Debris' M.O. as Dr. Mix and the Remix was to record covers of late 60s/early 70s rock 'n' roll and avant-garage classics on which he'd overdrive the guitars to ridiculously trebly lengths, and then sing a bit like Ian Curtis, in a clunky French accent, through a pitifully cheap reverb unit while letting a rudimentary drum machine handle the beats. During Dr. Mix's short run from '79 to '82, Debris released a handful of singles and one full-length album (also called Wall of Noise), mostly on Rough Trade. In the 1995 Spin Alternative Record Guide, The Jesus & Mary Chain's Jim Reid pegged that album his third favorite record of all time-- which says something for Reid's courage, since the distinctive sound of Psychocandy appears to have been lifted wholesale from select Wall of Noise cuts.
The Stooges' standard "No Fun" appears in three different versions: The single, which leads off this disc, was a full-band leftover from a Metal Urbain session; the original album version included later is cheaper and noisier (and better); and then there's a great instrumental "version" (also recorded solo), which served as the B-side of the single. The Dr. Mix treatment of "No Fun" finds Debris sounding like a dork and yet managing a certain cool, democratizing Iggy Pop's sexuality by making it available to anyone with the energy that a few meager tools creatively deployed.
Even more exciting, the insistent and stiff 4/4 kickdrum on a 10-minute version of The Velvet Underground's "Sister Ray" could become proper dance music with the right EQ settings, and Debris' slurred and drooling vocals lead one to believe he did, in fact, hit the mainline-- possibly sideways. The Troggs' "I Can't Control Myself" finds Debris turning down the guitar a bit to focus on his vocals, the barking cadence of which suggest that Wolfman Jack might have done a radio tour of France at some point.
Not all the old chestnuts fare so well ("You Really Got Me" is dinky synth-pop, and its clean recording makes it seem amateurish rather than inspired) and the Dr. Mix originals are generally pretty bad, mostly warmed-over rockabilly forms without the wit and energy Debris brings to the covers. Despite these serious dull patches, when Dr. Mix is good, he is very good. Most of all, Wall of Noise gets to the heart of why American rock music became a worldwide phenomenon: The format is supple and can be endlessly shaped and re-imagined without losing its essential identity.

Dusted Magazine July 22, 2004
Marc Medwin
The Metal Urbain reissue trilogy is complete. The history and influence of French Electro-punk combo Metal Urbain raises questions and invokes discussion fraught with complexity; I'm not going to provide a full back-story here, as Michael Crumsho and Jon Dale have already done so in their excellent reviews of Metal Urbain's Anarchy in Paris and Metal Boys' Tokyo Airport. Suffice it to say that Metal Urbain shocked the French and captivated the English with a drummerless brand of psychedelic punk that fuzzed and squealed its way to the attention of Rough Trade, who made "Panic" their first single. After Metal Urbain split up, and with the departure of their lead singer, Claude Panic, Eric Debris helmed two simultaneous projects. Metal Boys was a legit band, while Doctor Mix and the Remix was basically a solo distortion fest, although the other MA members occasionally climbed aboard. Doctor Mix recorded one full-length, one 12" and a couple of compilation tracks, all of which are featured on this reissue along with live cuts, demos and singles.
The LP, titled Wall of Noise, really celebrates the '60s rock to which all manner of punk and post-everything is so deeply indebted. The homage is a literal one, as more than half of the tracks on this CD are covers: The Trogs, the Kinks, Stooges, Velvet Underground, Roxy Music and David Bowie are all given the "Remix" treatment ’Äî not to mention some earlier tunes, like a blistering live version of "Hey Joe."
The Doctor Mix disc brings us back, at least for the Wall of Noise LP, into the grinding industriality of "Panic," which was actually an unreleased Metal Urbain take on the Stooges' "No Fun." We are treated here to three versions of that classic brain-melter, each radically different than the others, and their driving work-out of "Sister Ray" is very faithful (I can't help but smile, hearing Debris's heavily accented "busy suckin on a ding-dong").
Doctor Mix dives headlong into the avant-garde with Roxy Music's "Gray Lagoons." They take a soulful pop tune and turn it into an early Cabaret Voltaire psychodrama, with menacing synths and heavily distorted monster vocals. It was the track I'd been waiting to hear ’Äî the apex of this loose collective's genius ’Äî all tonal reference gone, a true wall of noise! "Six Dreams" is not too far behind it, a military drum-machine program supporting nightmare Debris invocations.
The Psychedelic Desert 12" material is not nearly as strong, even though the sound pallet is more varied. I get the unsettling impression that I'm hearing Gary Numan doing R&B covers ("He was a Man," "Brand New Cadillac"), and I really miss the drum machine, which the liner notes lament was abandoned on some obscure London sidewalk after a gig. The disc ends in fine form however, with the good ol' rock of "Heat" - but who's that playing saxophone? I could have done with a few instrumental credits.
All and all, a fine disc, probably the most satisfying of the three as a complete listen, despite occasional weaknesses. This is the completion of a wonderful historical trilogy, and hats off to Acute for reissuing it.

NME July 22, 2004
Louis Pattison
The French were in on the game, too, as Doctor Mix and the Remix's 'Wall Of Noise' (Acute) can attest. A side-project of quiff-sporting Parisian synth-punks Metal Urbain, it shuns existential seriousness in favour of razorblade-laced bubblegum covers of 'Sister Ray' and 'No Fun', hammered out on fucked drum-machine and fuzz-guitar.

Stop Smiling Online July 2004
Karl Bramah
Even among all the strange names and lost gems in the early catalogue of the early catalogue of the Rough Trade label (circa 1978-1983), the name Doctor Mix and the Remix always stood out; it's absence in the thorough reissue projects of the last few years (which has seen the release of the complete works of everyone from Liliput to Essential Logic and Subway Sect) made it even more notable. Who was this Doctor Mix? What was the "remix"? What was a scruffy label like Rough Trade (who, in all consideration were issuing music by everyone from Augustus Pablo to Robert Wyatt at this point, in addition to the best of London's young post-punk underground) up to with remixes? Could there actually be some forerunning experiments to techno-hip-hop futurism buried deep in the label's early discography?
Well, not quite, although I wouldn't put it past Rough Trade (had Geoff Travis and co. noticed any hip-hop activity happening in London between '78 and '83 they no doubt would have jumped on it- it would have fit in the catalogue nicely). It took a few extra years, but Acute has finally pulled back the curtain on Doctor Mix and his Remix to reveal...Parisian upstart Eric Debris, former leader of Metal Urbain, whose "Paris Marquis" was the debut Rough Trade release? By 1979, Debris had morphed into Doctor Mix and unleashed Wall of Noise, which is perhaps most renowned as a personal favorite of Lost In Translation denouement stars the Jesus and Mary Chain. It's easy to see why- the Doctor pioneered the idea of running one track of whitewash feedback alongside a conventional pop song, which JAMC borrowed five years later.
Wall of Noise collects all 18 of the Doctor's offerings, most of which are covers of post-punk faves like "No Fun," "Sister Ray," and "Can't Control Myself," although there were less likely numbers like "You Really Got Me," "Brand New Cadillac," and "Hey Joe." There are also originals like "In the Plastic Motel Bar At the Edge of the Desert," which sees Paris bopping over the chorus in his best Inspector Clouseau: "in zee plasteek mohtel bah, at zee edge of zee des-airt!" The French accent is on every song; it's a punchline without much punch, although it's worth a grin to hear someone sneer through "Brand New Cadillac" in heavy French, with a wall of noise behind him. Most songs fall on that faultline between the art-damaged post punk Rough Trade was famous for and the dippy, novelty new wave that was on the rise in 1979. Everything's run over a cheap casio drum beat, as cold and brittle as freeze-dried tin foil. As for the guitars...buzz buzz buzz, we like fuzz. It captures the spirit of the time well, as punk moved further from the Sex Pistols and Clash's classic rock influences and towards the cold ground of the 1980s, when you could make records with just a buzzy guitar, a Casio and your best robotic vocals. Another piece of the Rough Trade genealogy unearthed. Next stop: File Under Pop!

The Asheville Disclaimer July 2004
Travis Reyes
It seems too easy a formula now ’Äì take some repetitive drum machine programming, add a few affects, drench it with some drunken, distorted guitar and top that with a vocal swagger recalling John Lydon or even Iggy Pop and lay it to tape.
The end result: not only an important chapter in punk rock history but a wonderfully sculpted pop gem as well. The Jesus and Mary Chain perfected it, but only half a decade after Eric Debris and company released their primed-for-partying wall of noise as Doctor Mix and the Remix in 1979.
Understand, of course, that a sense of humor and quite a bit of patience is needed to appreciate a reissue such as this. With their cover of The Stooges' "No Fun" showing up three times and a near 12-minute version of Velvet Underground's "Sister Ray" in tow, this extremely comprehensive disc may be a bit too much for the uninitiated.
While their place in the whole scheme of punk/pop/electro may be important to some, the most valuable gift received from Doctor Mix is the gift of the party.
This music is an orgy of rock in its truest form. The aforementioned simple drumming and loose guitar allow plenty of room for strutting, as I could very well imagine Eric Debris doing, with pompadour and leather aplenty.
Check the covers of "You Really Got Me" (The Kinks), "I Can't Control Myself" (The Troggs) and "Brand New Cadillac" (Vince Taylor).
Guaranteed to please a stew of different sorts at a party, but may be better off in shuffle mode on the ol' 5-discer with the likes of the J&M Chain, Kraftwerk, Sex Pistols and Suicide. Now, that's some partyin'.

Montreal Mirror July 30,2004
Lorraine Carpenter
This final installment in Acute's Metal Urbain trilogy is a re-release by Eric Debris's spin-off act, established shortly after the French punk band's breakup in 1979. Paying tribute to the likes of the Seeds, the Stooges, David Bowie, the Clash and Jimi Hendrix, Debriis sounds like he's singing (sneering? seething?) in a far-off dungeon, where synths, guitars and drum machines rise up through cracks in the floor. This bonus-heavy disc also includes a few (bilingual) originals, gutter synthpunk tunes cut from the same gritty cloth as its remoulded rock 'n' roll classics.

Aquarius Records July 2004
Can you improve on The Stooges' "No Fun"? No, but the combination of a really weird French guy, a primitive drum machine and incredibly distorted electric guitar is a good try! Eric Debris, leader of the seminal French synth-punk act Metal Urbain (and, subsequently, Metal Boys) also had a recording project in the late '70s/early '80s under the Doctor Mix And The Remix moniker. It was his solo project for (the most part) doing stripped-down, fucked-up cover versions of classics like "No Fun" and the Troggs' "I Can't Control Myself". The first Doctor Mix singles featured "versions" on the flip (included here) that are even more messed up. Those are all here along with the entire 1979 Wall Of Noise album, wherein songs by Bowie, The Seeds, the Velvet Underground (an amazing take on "Sister Ray"), Roxy Music and others are all operated on by Doctor Mix, who gives the original artists reason to sue for malpractice! A further Doctor Mix ep is included as well, with a few originals and, among other things, the perenial cover tune "Hey Joe". With Debris singing in Anglais with a snotty French accent, it's all kinda goofy but full of Gallic-punk charm. And if you didn't already check 'em out, we still have Acute's recent reissues of the Metal Urbain and Metal Boys albums in stock, both come highly recommended.

Now Toronto August 5-11
tim perlich
Jesus and Metal Urbain
Anyone convinced that the Jesus and Mary Chain were onto something totally unique when they came out of Glasgow back in 84 with guitars blazing needs to check out Acute's reissue of the debut LP by Dr. Mix and the Remix , originally released on Rough Trade back in 1979. The recording was actually a solo covers project by Metal Urbain frontman Eric Debris , but in his distorto-deconstructions of Iggy 's No Fun and Lou Reed 's Sister Ray you can hear the collision of Velvets , Stooges and Phil Spector aesthetics that provided the brothers Reid with the blueprint for their whole sheets-of-guitar-noise concept. A Rosetta Stone for JAMC fans.

Fader September/October 2004
Elliot Aronow
This album wasn't aesthetic theft, it was career suicide. Well, not really, since Eric Debris, the dude who put this together, was a member of French noise terrorists Metal Urbain who were pretty gritty to begin with. Nonetheless, it fucking slays. Recorded in '79 with little more than a Korg drum machine, hot loops of feedback and enough fuzz to make the Velvet's "Sister Ray" seem tame, Debris' remixes sound like a Time-Life '60s garage rock compilation after it has been spewed up by Alan Vega's garbage disposal. Victims of the Doctor include the Stooges, the Kinks and the Troggs. Can you believe Rough Trade used to fuck with stuff like this?

Arthur Magazine
Byron Coley
The last coupla days a lotta time has been spent listening to the three CDs that Acute Records has released to document the history of one of the French undergrounds great legacies of raunch. The first installment is Anarchy in Paris! by METAL URBAIN. Formed in 1976, these guys were the true inventors of drum-box punk, combining overloaded synth, distorted punk guitar and scabrous vocals (imagine the early Stranglers singing gutteral French) into a truly head-melting mix. They released their own first single, then had the first release on the Rough Trade label (Paris Maquis is still one of my fave songs ever). The fates were really against them, however, and their popularity never really matched their genius. The Anarchy CD is really well programmed and annotated, and its really one of the essentials for any good punk rock library.
When Metal Urbain finally exploded, leader Eric Debris continued the story in two divergent directions. The first was a band that grew more or less organically out of Metal Urbain's corpse, called METAL BOYS. There is a lost early session by the band, recorded by Hawkwinds Bob Calvert, and while I'd love to hear that, the stuff on Tokio Airportis satisfying in its own way. The sound of this stuff is mostly very different from the earlier band. The bulk of the recorded material features vocals by an Anglophone named China, whose words are buoyed by a variety of somewhat subversive new wave tropes. And some of it is a little too lightweight to really engage my head, but there are still lots of great moments, some of them very unexpected (as in the virtual Sun Ra tribute, Outer Space). And, truly, the more I listen to this, the more acclimated (addicted?) I become to China's emotionally flat vocals. They really reek of early 80s Rough Trade gal dub action, and that's a flavor that I can never get enough of. Combined with the sort of kilter-less low-key electronics here (like low blood sugar versions of SPK, Clock DVA, the cruder end of BEF, etc.), it sucks you in real sweetly. Unfortunately, Metal Boys remained an even more obscure project than the original had. But Tokio collects pretty much everything youd want to hear, and if youve heard Anarchy, I guarantee youll be intrigued as hell!
Debris solo project, committed in parallel to Metal Boys, was Dr. Mix and the Remix. Wall of Noise shows this stuff (which eventually expanded into an actual band) to be much more aggressive and strange than Metal Boys. Much of the material is covers of older songsThe Stooges No Fun, the Velvets Sister Ray, the Troggs I Cant Control Myself, etc. But these songs are highly devolved, dub-informed scuzzed-out versions of the originals. At times it sounds a bit like those early Suicide tracks that Blast First released a few years ago, but you wouldnt really mistake it for anyone except Doctor Mix. At any rate, this trilogy is pretty goddamn ripe. So give it a sniff. Youll be glad you did.

Rockpile October 2004
Reed Jackson
Nobody does snooty better than the French, which is why the Gallic '70s punk band Metal Urbain is so electrifying. Despite its underclass pretensions, good punk has always been about elitism, about nastily separating from the ugly, common herd. Melding the jittery artiness of Wire with an electronic sensibility that was years ahead of its time, Metal Urbain were the ultimate assertion of haughty superiority over the Bad Companies of the world. Dr. Mix was a solo project from one of MU's core members, made in his basement with little more than a synthesizer, drum machine and four-track. The songs consist of inhumanly mangled covers of The Stooges, The Seeds, The Kinks and other classics. It's horribly fun to see Dr. Mix turn the violence and virility of the originals into a detached mess of synthesizer wash and Parisian muttering. The good Doctor's bizarre transformations predate the similarly minded robotic obsessions of Devo, Big Black and others by years, which makes this record much more than a curiosity piece or guilty pleasure. Sacre bleu!

Stylus Magazine July 17, 2004
Todd Hutlock
Dead Letter Office is a column of letters written by Todd Hutlock to a friend named Jimmy, who may or may not exist. The column details real-life experiences regarding work, life, and how Hutlock's obsession with music runs them both.
Jimmy -
Sorry I haven't written in a while... it's been sort of hectic/ugly at home of late. But that's a story for another letter.
So... Do you remember Dan Selzer?
Dan was a few years behind us at Oberlin (he was a freshman when I was a junior), and was an electronic music major (at the time, at least) who was taking the intro class at the same time I was (as well as working for me at WOBC and later, part-time in the Co-op Bookstore record department). We soon got to talking and discovered that we had a mutual love of Renegade Soundwave, Meat Beat Manifesto, Black Dog, the Orb, etc. Soon, I was loaning Dan some classic Detroit Techno stuff and we were regularly geeking out about music. Honestly, Dan is a record geek after my own heart, full of the same sort of useless knowledge and damn proud of it. Dan was also pretty tight with Morgan Geist, as was I until the whole Bevin Kelley incident, which I still regret to this day (and again, that's another story). Dan loved his ARP 2600 and his old school industrial and his obscure New York Noise and a lot of other stuff, too. Great guy, someone I really saw a lot of myself in, frankly, even though I wasn't all that much older than he was.
About two years ago, when I first started working my current job, I was surfing around the net with nothing to do (I was new, so they didn't have much for me at first) and I was Googling myself and about a million other people (mostly ex-girlfriends that I was wondering what happened to). And lo and behold, under my name, next to all of the AP references and Village Voice ballots, was an essay by one Mr. Dan Selzer from his Acute Web site, dated sometime in 2000, I think. It was, to this day, the nicest thing anyone has ever written about me, and it wasn't really even about me. It was in the intro to his history of electronic dance music:
"Upon entering college (Fall of 1993), with a suitcase full of Black Dog and Orb CDs, I met two people who would have a substantial impact on my understanding of dance music. Todd Hutlock, now an editor at Alternative Press where I hope he will continue to use his power to turn people on to Renegade Soundwave, and Morgan Geist, now a renowned producer of dance music himself.
My interest in dance music was a slippery slope, starting with statements like "I like hard, experimental techno, but none of that house crap" to announcements like "I like techno and some early, more experimental house" to "I like dance music." Us middle and upper middle class white kids often have a white-guilt issue which causes us to not admit to, or be capable of, appreciating the more soulful strains of dance music. I probably shouldn't make this about race, because it's not, so replace that "us" with a capital "Me."
So, my education at Oberlin College begins with Hutlock's lending his treasured copy of Transmat Relics to me. Relics is a compilation of early releases and archival non-releases from the Detroit Techno label Transmat, run by Derrick May. It was only released in Belgium, for reasons that will make sense when I finish the techno history of me and begin my history of techno. This was the first time I realized techno wasn't made by white Europeans...."
Okay, so I know it isn't really about me so much, but Jesus, I was touched. What better thing to read about yourself, you know? That you had a profound influence on someone's musical history and passion is really an affecting thing. I sent Dan some email to tell him I saw it and how happy it made me, and we wrote back and forth for a bit. Dan promised to send me his latest CD release (he now runs Acute Records, a very cool reissue label), which he never did, but I didn't care so much. I still love Danny like the kid brother I never had.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago: Todd Burns, the Stylus Majordomo, mentioned a CD by Doctor Mix and the Remix and my heart just about stopped. Doctor Mix and the Remix is not exactly a household name, but to me, it's one that will live in my memory banks for the rest of my life.
See, when I first got to Oberlin, I was already very into music. But then, everything exploded. All of the factors’Äîthe credit cards, the musical environment, the radio station, Dave Todarello, etc.’Äîcame together to make me a bona fide collector and historian that I had previously not even dreamed about. I was buying new shit and old shit and borrowing shit and getting shit given to me and being played shit and basically was totally immersing myself in every genre and style of music, past present, popular and obscure there was. It was a beautiful time (and my grades in school show it). I took whatever anyone gave me’ÄîDave T. hoisted a huge collection of fantastic 7"s on me that I still love for the most part; Don Marvel gave me (or maybe sold me cheap) a bunch of old Creation LPs because he knew I was into that scene and his own addiction to the Residents was in full effect; Sarge's Records quarter bin was about the most interesting collection of records I had ever seen, full of indie gold of yesteryear pawned to buy a pony keg; I would buy stuff from traveling vendors, library record sales for a dime’Äîanything that looked even remotely interesting, and in a town like Oberlin, at a time when people were dumping their vinyl for CDs in earnest, it was a fucking goldmine.
One record kept turning up though, everywhere I went: Doctor Mix and the Remix's Wall of Noise. It had a hot pink cover with a cartoonly logo that just said "Wall of Noise" on it and it turned up everywhere. Dave had a copy, WOBC had a copy, Sarge's Records had a copy’Äîeverywhere I went, there was this strange record with the hot pink cover. To this day, I have no idea how a tiny town like Oberlin ended up with so many copies of such an obscure little record. I swear, I saw it everywhere! Maybe I was seeing the same copy over and over again as it changed hands, I don't know. And it was on Rough Trade, no less! I had to have it! It was haunting me! What was it?!?
I remember finally buying it (or having it given to me, I don't recall) in a big bunch of LPs that also included Chuck Berry, Hoagy Carmichael, Tomita, the Jasmine Minks, the Anti Group, and Polly Bergen, among other disparate acts. I took it home, excited as hell to finally get this phantom album into my collection. And there it sat.
And sat.
And sat...
And to this day, that copy remains unplayed, a symbol of my collector scum mentality at it's most heinous. As soon as the quest was over, I forgot about it. That is until Burns' mention...
I immediately requested a review copy of the CD and promised on a stack of bibles to write a review. Burns duly sent it off to me and when it arrived, you could have knocked me over with a feather because the label that reissued it was none other than Acute, Dan Selzer's label. Talk about a coincidence! I emailed Burns, who was suitably confused, thinking that I had known the entire time. Stranger things have happened to me (as you know by now), but I'd be hard pressed to think of one off the top of my head.
Turns out the album (or Acute's version of it anyway, rife with extra tracks and exacting liner notes, of course) is a whole lotta fun, as well. Doctor Mix and the Remix were a Metal Urbain spinoff (and Dan/Acute has also reissued their Anarchy in Paris album, a CD copy of which sat in the Oberlin Co-op Bookstore unbought for roughly a decade, which I find most amusing’ÄîI wonder if Dan even knows that there was a copy there that he walked by hundreds of times?), and is basically an electro-metal fusion party album. Cheap drum machines (but in a good way), fuzzy guitar riffs, and monotone/snotty punk vocals careen through a host of original material and choice covers both predictable ("No Fun", "Sister Ray") and off the beaten path (Bowie's "Supermen", Roxy Music's "Grey Lagoons", "Brand New Cadillac") but all of which sound great when turned up really loud. It sounds like "Nag Nag Nag" but with less angst and more beer. I can hardly believe I never played this thing, because now it sounds great blasting out of my car cruising the shoreway with the windows down.
So basically, I guess Dan and I are even - I introduced him to Detroit Techno, and he introduced me to a great album I forgot I even owned. All in all, I consider us even. I think this is what music lovers do for each other.
Do strange little coincidences like this happen to everyone, or am I just blessed/cursed by circumstances?
God, now I feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Better crank up that CD again....
Promise I'll write more soon.
Your man in the Midwest,