Remember when instrumental albums used to surprise you? Think back to the early days of Ninja Tune. You can get that warm, fuzzy feeling all over again because Dirty Art Club just arrived in town and they plan on staying for a while.
Picture it now: the North Carolina duo of Matt Cagle and Madwreck unpacking their analog synths and field recording equipment, while nosy neighbors peek through curtains. I don’t blame them for their curiosity. A quick Google search reveals nothing about the group. I suppose they’re keeping a low profile, allowing their debut release “Heavy Starch” to ease in.
And ease in it does, starting with the intro track “The Beginning”. The song plays like a gritty version of some unforgettable classical song that the world doesn’t know about yet, familiar but distant. The song starts with a sample lyric that sums up the artistic idea behind Dirty Art Club: a deep voice declares, “It’s a very abstract museum, in which they show sound paintings.”
The remaining tunes in “Heavy Starch” borrow from the wonder years of Studio 54: the popping of a needle on vinyl, the oh-so sexy melodies, and the lush vocal samples are all there. “Just a Memory” sounds as if the duo stripped down the old 70s tune “Ring my Bell” by Patti LaBelle and refashioned it into something new, complete with downward-stepping chimes and electronic drum beats.
The album’s standout song “One Nine Seven Three” is infectiously happy. Listen close and you’ll hear programmed bongos beneath the trippy-dippy Blues stylings of a keyboard. Reminds me of the O’Jays but void of vocals. This is the feel-good song Dirty Art Club would play at the neighborhood block party; and you’re invited, so check out D.A.C.’s “Heavy Starch”.
D.A.C. – One Nine Seven Three