Excerpted from the magazine for Billboard.com.
On the eve of the U.S. release of their new album, "Night Works" -- due Sept. 10 via XL Recordings/Beggars Group -- Layo & Bushwacka!'s Matthew Benjamin recalls the one rule the U.K.-based duo imposed on its debut album, 1999's "Low Life."
"As long as it doesn't have a four/four kick drum in it, anything goes," he says with a chuckle. "We didn't have that rule on this album. We wanted a complete journey; one that contained the energy of our DJ sets and the musicality of our studio work."
The duo's genre-bending "Night Works" blends musical styles with startling intuition, employing an artistic and technical sophistication that stretches the boundaries of dance/electronic music. The result is warm, dramatic, and deeply sexy, a guitar-drenched landscape where live horns and scat vocals flirt languidly with taut beats, exotic samples, and thick, stabbing synth lines. From start to finish, "Night Works" deftly dances the line between peak-hour mayhem and chilled-out melancholia.
"We sampled things, and then we would write around them," Layo Paskin, the self-proclaimed "sample researcher," explains. "The samples inspired a ride, and then we lost them. It was a good way to work ... We tried to bring together a lot of our own influences, including house, techno, trip-hop, breakbeat, hip-hop, electro, and drum'n'bass. We don't think they need to be disparate forms of music."
Case in point: The set's first single, "Love Story," alchemizes the bassline from Devo's "Mongoloid" and a filtered vocal from an obscure Nina Simone track into the kind of international club smash that has a way of crash-landing on dancefloors.
"Love Story" cracked the U.K. top 30 upon its official June release, debuting at No. 1 on numerous dance charts. "Night Works" has met similar success in the U.K. since its July 1 release.
Layo & Bushwacka! are spending the summer performing at numerous European festivals, including Sonar in Spain and Pukkelpop in Belgium. Also known for its irreverent DJ sets, the duo holds DJ residencies at such clubs as Space in Ibiza, Spain, and the End in London. In the U.S., the duo is scheduled to embark on a DJ tour later this summer, followed by a proper live tour in the fall.
Excerpted from the Aug. 10, 2002, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the Billboard.com members section.
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