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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

“Spectacle” far from Spectacular

Remember 1995? You had just seen the newly released Hackers, and were determined to become a cool cyber-criminal. You named your cyber-self Mausketeer, you only drank Mountain Dew, you wore pants with too many pockets, and you listened to Spectacle (Radio Fried Records), Mike Relm’s first release. It was filled with enough synth-heavy beats to fuel any cyber-geek’s all-night hacking sessions. And just so you didn’t feel too dorky, there were several tracks with high profile guest rappers “spitting rhymes.”

Wait a sec; Mike Relm’s Spectacle just came out this week? It sounds like it’s 13 years old!

I really wanted to like this album. I really, honestly did. I was excited when I saw videos of Mike Relm sampling and scratching video clips from Charlie Brown and The Peanuts, Led Zeppelin, and Office Space. I thought surely an album made by this man would at least be entertaining to listen to. And when I read that Del tha Funkee Homosapien (best known for his rapping with Gorillaz), Lateef the Truth Speaker (of DJ Shadow fame) and Brighton native Mr. Lif, among others, were going to be helping Relm out on this debut album, I felt quite lucky that I was going to hear it before it got to the general public.

But, to my great disappointment, Mike Relm has a real knack for taking delicious, fresh ingredients, and making one crappy salad. This crappy-salad album has a few fundamental problems. First, three of the songs with guest rappers (“Everytime,” “You Break,” and “My Heart”) use the exact same backing track. WTF were you thinking, Mike Relm? Second, there are hardly any songs that have samples in them. In an album made by a guy who is known for his mash-up work, no samples equals let down. Third, the beats that Relm makes are painfully unoriginal. They sound like they were taken from Garageband’s bank of beats. When listening to an album made by a DJ, I expect to hear stimulating beats. Not here.

On the brighter side of things, the guest rapping is all pretty good. Mike Relm will probably sell a lot of copies of this album based on the impressive list of guest rappers. The most enjoyable song with guest rapping is definitely “Body Rock (ft. Morningwood and The Gift of Gab).” Also “Without Her” features nice singing from Lateef The Truthspeaker

If you’re a fan of Mike Relm’s live audio/visual mash-up performances, don’t buy this album hoping to hear anything resembling what you’ve heard live. It’s not there. If you’re a fan of any of the many guest rappers, and are willing to buy an entire album for a track with your favorite rapper, than I guess you should go ahead and get it.

Overall, I give this album two out of five stars. It sounds like it was made in 1995, it’s not stimulating, and it’s strangely repetitive. However, the people on the guest list are kind of a big deal, and they succeed in rescuing several of Mike Relm’s tracks. I hope that Mike Relm sticks with his interesting audio-visual mash-ups… and never tries to make an album like this again.