Ryan McRyhew is a co-founder of the Laser Palace label and member of Hideous Men and Bdrmppl, He started the Thug Entrancer project to deal with the dislocation of moving from Denver to Chicago, reviving the ageless art of transforming dark times into positive vibes. He does this by finessing a battery of analog electronics to make hand-made techno, folk music for replicants.
On the third volume of Tropics Mind, a whole slew of electronic visionaries, mostly from the Denver Arthouse rave axis, re-interpret Thug Entrancer tracks. 'Tight Lean,' from the first Tropics Mind, shows up twice, with Iuengliss taking the fluttering beat of the original and shoving it into a bucket of water, before atomizing the whole thing into a particle swarm of glitchy breakbeats. Mystic Bummer leaves the ghetto fabulousness intact, funking it up with some 808 cowbell and enormous hand claps that would have Grandmaster Flash grinning, finally tearing it up into a barrage of breakbeats. Low-slung and super cool, this track is my fave, gonna be buzzing in my ear drums until the next Equinox.
"They Live" also shows up twice, once by Popdrone, once by Alphabets, the first sounding like an after party in The Dark Backward, and the latter's Dawn Mall Remix sounds like some cognitive disorder where unrelated memories collide into one another, creating a bizarro slipstream of alternate time, space, and identity.
The last track to get the double-feature treatment is "Spiritual Growth", also from the first Tropics Mind. The Gathering The Light remix turns the electro-minimalism of the original into a chrome-polished night drive down a slick highway at night, open fires reflecting on the asphalt, while Jedediah Logsdon's takes the electro-minimalism of the source material and turns it into a plasticine byte of mnml tech-house.
"Head Computer" from Vol. 2 gets the treatment from Greencarpetedstairs, who takes the burbling bassline and b-boy electro-funk and drops it down a well. Its like listening to a rave going on in the basement of the hotel where yr trying to sleep, with the occasional punctuation of blood-curdling screams making you wish you had shelled out the extra six dollars for the HoJo by the airport. Venacavaca's version of "New Violence" sounds like a vengeful spirit hanging in the air around the midnight ninja strike of the original's bassline. A bad omen. "Dark Days (drift station remix)" takes "Dark Ages" chopped-and-slurred soul vox and taut, wiry beats and reconfigures it into a lo-fi girl group sing-a-long, finalizing the record with some glammy disco, before trailing off into the sunrise.
Its cool to hear how the various remixers work with the source material, revealing their personalities along the way, as well as the adaptability of McRyhew's song-writing. With the homespun feeling of the hand-made electronica, there is a spark of humanity in this bent and broken circuit boards and chip tune vocals. There is no trace of irony here. With crisp, warm beats and solid musicality, this is bound to sound great through systems and headphones alike, so DJs take note and listeners beware. The fact that this is a free download from Thug Entrancer's bandcamp means that there is literally no excuse for not checking out. Unless you just don't like good music.
In case this is not enough analog wizardry for you, you can hear some of Ryan's modular synth experiments over here: