James T. Cotton
The Dancing Box
A version to appear on prefixmag.com
Tadd Mullinix, known for releases under Dabrye and SK-1, drops his first LP as James T. Cotton on Ghostly International. For such a consistant label, The Dancing Box is certainly not another feather in the Ghostly cap. Rather, it’s an inconsistant mismash consisting of a few solid singles and a lot of distorted filler.
The album, rooted in Chicago acid and Detroit techno, succeeds in its intention with tracks like “The Drain,” which revel in old 303 tones and classic drum samples. “Blood Red” is drawn from a similar source, and stands as another highlight on the record. It’s acid-influenced, with a slightly more modern glisten. These two stand as the essential cuts on the record. “That’s How I Like It (illusions) stands in the middle ground, as it is reminiscent of Plastikman, but lacks the distinct cerebral element that make Hawtin’s productions stand out so much.
From here, the album descends into an almost unlistenable place. The beats grow more and more distorted (think Atari Teenage riot drum tones), synths get harsher and the compositions become more abstract. If Mullinix would have stuck to the acid revival sounds a bit more, the album would be considerably more consistant and dancable. However, as it stands, The Dancing Box is anything but an apt title.