DELTRON 3030, UGLY DUCKLING
Bay Area producer Dan "the Automator" Nakamura was the sonic architect behind Dr. Octagon, the most memorable of Kool Keith's multiple personalities, but when it seemed like the project was about to break really big--thanks to a plum spot on the Lollapalooza tour--the rapper went AWOL, and Nakamura's big break went with him. Deltron 3030, his new collaboration with legendary Bay Area rapper Del the Funky Homosapien, seems designed as a second shot at the big time. Del's singular roller-coaster flow is more impressive than Keith's apparently uncontrolled cadences, and his lyrics make more sense (which isn't saying much, I know). The vague concept of their debut, Deltron 3030 (75 Ark), has something to do with future cyber-chaos: on "Virus" he raps, "I want to devise a virus / To bring dire straits to your environment / Crushing corporations with a mild touch / Trash the whole computer system and revert you to papyrus," while on "Upgrade (A Brymar College Course)" he advises, "Upgrade your gray matter / Cause one day it may matter." Hotshot Montreal turntablist Kid Koala is a full-time participant, and Nakamura's diverse settings, which touch on kitschy rock and pop, feature a weird assortment of hard-to-pick-out guests, including Blur's Damon Albarn, Sean Lennon, MC Paul Barman, and Prince Paul, but Del is clearly the star. Unfortunately he puts on a better show on his recent solo album, Both Sides of the Brain (Hiero Imperium). Opening this bill is the Long Beach trio Ugly Duckling, whose old-school shtick clashes with Deltron 3030's futuristic paranoia. On their new Journey to Anywhere (1500) the rhymes are goofy, the beats are basic--with the exception of the Brazilian accents on the dopey "A Little Samba"--and the scratching is simple. But though it may be completely unoriginal--hell, "I Did It Like This" is built around a Beastie Boys sample--it's also undeniably fun. The fine Bay Area duo the People Under the Stairs perform in the middle slot. Sunday, November 12, 9 PM, House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn; 312-923-2000 or 312-559-1212.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photos/Johnny Giunta/Kate Romero.