BENTLEYS ARE OFTEN DISMISSED AS techno’s answer to [I]The Fast Show[/I]’s Colin Hunt, irritating office pranksters in their comedy wigs and too-loud ties. But this 44-track double-DJ set not only proves the Brummie duo are discerning pop archivists, it also revitalises the generally lacklustre mix-tape formula with heady West Midlands surrealism and a pleasingly elastic approach.
One of many magical things about BRA is that they owe absolutely no allegiance to the po-faced ‘good taste’ techno fascists nor the lager-lager-shouting brigade of big beat. Yes, there are a few self-consciously trendy reference points here – Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Afrika Bambaataa, John Barry – but none are superfluous and all ease comfortably into the melee of disco, hip-hop, drum’n’bass, louche loungecore and lewd ragga. Each disc is bookended with a retro-pop tune, from the pastoral strummage of Jefferson Airplane to Neil Young’s falsetto choirboy croak on Buffalo Springfield’s ‘I Am A Child’. Blasts of revved-up vintage soul from The Bar-Kays, Billy Paul and the stupendously named Pigmeat Markham share a dancefloor with the spliff-hop lollop of Jurassic 5 and the fidgety cyberfunk of Stakker’s seminal acid house classic ‘Humanoid’. Veteran jazzer Herbie Hancock reveals where Deee-Lite stole their ‘Groove Is In The Heart’ riff from in ‘Bring Down The Birds’, while semi-legendary LA garage rocker Kim Fowley sounds spannered off his fusebox in archive gem ‘Animal Man’.
The BRA boys don’t bother too much with fancy concepts like ‘mixing’, preferring instead to play a track in its entirety before gleefully leaping to the next. All the same, it belts along with lusty abandon and low-key humour, a minimum of filler and a maximum of good vibes. There is no pisstaking here, no goofball irony – just a mile-high stack of great records and a mile-wide love of pop in all its funky, stoned, heroically diverse forms. Wig out.