They’re good boys, Stephen and David Dewaele. In the quest for their perfect mix album, Soulwax‘s singer and guitarist hunted down legal clearance for over 187 tracks. Their website announces proudly that 114
were approved, 62 were refused and 11 remained untraceable. There are, of course, those that would say that the resulting record – available in this country on import only – is every bit as commercial as the Sugababes single, another blow to the legally shady spontaneity of the underground.
Yet if Soulwax have spoilt it for everyone else, at least they’ve done it with panache: bootleg culture, electroclash, disco, pop, rock’n’roll – all are well served by this Belgian musical puree. The website manifesto insists that ‘2 Many DJ s’ shouldn’t be seen as the soundtrack to the bar or boutique – but you can almost taste the sushi as their bootleg of ‘Push It’ and ‘No Fun’ makes a stylishly raucous appearance. No longer fashion renegades rifling through the second-hand sample bin and mixing it up with designer chart knock-offs, Soulwax are your personal shoppers, refining the process of musical discovery for ease and accessibility.
Still, there’s an abundance of witty segues: ‘Independent Women Pt 1’ gives way to Dolly Parton chortling through ‘Nine To Five’; Peaches’ unpleasant ‘Fuck The Pain Away’ flexes into ‘I’m Waiting For The Man’; there’s a particularly twisted troilist encounter between The Cramps, The Breeders and Skee-Lo. Then there’s Dakar And Grinser’s take on ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’, Felix Da Housecat’s ‘Silver Screen Shower Scene’, New Order, Royksopp, Kylie – there’s little here that
you wouldn’t turn up the radio for.
It’s ironic, however, that their love and knowledge of music, compiled and formatted like this, should become such a simple musical commodity. ‘2 Many DJ s’ is a zeitgeist-flavoured Slimfast: never mind all those heavy, fattening records, just play this selection – lovely flavours! – and then if you want, you can listen to a proper record in the evening. Soulwax might feed your ears, but you’ll need more substance to feed your head.