Keoki

Keokiclash (Cleopatra Records)

"I've done it all, honey/I've worked, I've walked, I've danced, I've pranced/I've seen it all, sweetie, but I've never seen you/I am legendary. You are not."

Hungry Wives' Andy Salzer insists that the preceding sample, from Keoki's "Cup of Tea" mix of the Wives cut "It's Over," is the voice of "a particular brand of local scenester -- that fucked-up party weirdo that's still at your house at 6 a.m., rambling on and on about how great the scene used to be." But the obvious bravado in the author's voice could easily be Keoki's own. After all, New York City club owners once rolled out the red carpet for the then virtual unknown from Hawaii who employed the prefixes "Superstar" and "DJ."

"It's Over" kicks off Keokiclash, Keoki's first mixed disc since his exit from a decade-long contract with Moonshine Records. The imprint moved over a million units in Keoki's name -- sales figures practically unheard of in the electronic-music universe; but he was apparently unhappy with the methods the label used to promote Misdirected Jealousy, the artist record he made with ex-labelmate Dave Audé. Keokiclash is the DJ's comeback bid for an electroclash-bandwagon boarding pass. Once a talented teenager deserving of his techno throne, Keoki has since been noticeably demoted.

Keokiclash is chock-full of the kinds of sounds you would expect from a collection of electroclash: 808 drum-machine beats, vocoded vocals and arpeggiated square-wave bass lines galore. Track two is probably the most interesting inclusion because of its bio-graphical implications. Virus's "The Horrorist" alludes to the story of Michael Alig, the Limelight promoter who hacked up his drug dealer, Angel, over a bag of smack. Alig is portrayed by Macauley Culkin in Killer Films' Party Monster (based on James St. James's book Disco Bloodbath). Keoki, played by Wilmer Valderrama (better known as Fez from That '70s Show), was supposedly one of Alig's first Big Apple boyfriends. Luckily, they broke up before Alig broke down.

So what is the exact significance of Keokiclash to electro's second coming? Actually, it's one of the fattest electroclash compilations to date. Electroclash Festival founder Larry Tee's Moonshine mix ain't got nothing on Keoki's. Whereas Tee keeps a safe distance from most of the genre's catchiest tracks, Keoki dishes out a fair number of its greatest hits, including Waldorf's "You're My Disco," John Starlight's "Holy" and Chicks on Speed's "Fashion Rules." He may not be the rowdy rebel that his new anarchy-symbol logo implies, but Keoki's still got more personality in one mohawked hair than a boatload of motionless disc-jockey bodies.

 
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