By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
The emotional turntable journey on MasterMix Volume 1 is an eye-opening trip from fresh, almost naive innocence to sophisticated numbness. It kicks off with Atkins’ own alter ego Model 500 bubbling "No UFOs" (1985), as fine an attempt to inject a sliver of funk into Kraftwerk as you could ask for. A judicious sampling of Eurodisco-influenced ya-ya ensues — and the ghost of home-and-abroad dance bump never hangs far from the proceedings throughout.
But the mood changes. The first sign of malaise creeps in a third of the way through, with a brilliant transition from hand-waving New Jersey house to Detroiter Rick Wade’s "Prime Time," a dense, superminimal loop that sounds like a flat tire ignored: Just like that, the focus has shifted from the body to a mantralike state of consciousness.
Atkins enhances that consciousness with a new focus every couple of tracks. With Convextion’s "Convextion (AA)," he introduces a paranoia that seeps into you through a counterrhythmic scratch — an effect carried even further by Pacou (from Berlin) on "Their Voices." Atkins’ own cuts range from cloudy sensuality to cold cut-up to synaptic shock, exhibiting dead-on mastery of his craft; more recordings from him are absolutely necessary.
The chilliest offering, and the greatest piece of journalism, is DJ Assault’s. "Let’s have sex on the beach/Layin’ in the sand/Just you and me/Hand in hand," he monotones 20 times over an unvarying beat and an insipid synth melody. There’s no hint of seduction; he doesn’t care if they do it or not, and neither does she. Flip a coin.
And that’s how we feel — kind of indifferent, plugged into our electrodes. We know it, and that’s the way (uh-huh uh-huh) we like it. Changed, but not Kontrolled.