There's nothing like a presidential election to make you lose faith in electoral politics. The corporate candidates begin to blur together, and the prospects for meaningful change get slimmer with each passing debate. Maybe it's like the Minutemen once said: Perhaps some partying will help. That's where Mahjongg comes in. If Fela Kuti built Daft Punk robots out of scraps scavenged from Kraftwerk's garbage dump, the tribal, chaotic and utterly danceable result might be this experimental Chicago outfit. The man machine called Mahjongg has a head filled with banging-on-oil-drums industrial music, but it's also blessed with a primitive heart, a dancer's legs and a human soul. While the band itself has hidden behind inscrutable identities and faux manifestos since its 2005 debut, the music found on Kontpab, its latest release for Calvin Johnson's K Records, is the real statement. Experimental noise meets chirping electronics, body-moving hooks and hummable vocal melodies in a primal parallel dimension that is part steampunk, part cyberpunk, and all party.


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