Ming + FS
The Human Condition
Those in the know have found it impossible to ignore the talent of this DJ/producer duo. Ming (Aaron Albano) and FS (Fred Sargolini) have enriched several Om compilations, enhanced the abilities of Channel Live, Kool Keith, Coolio, and even Brandy, and have actually made Puff Daddy seem like he has talent with their drum n’ bass remix of “All About the Benjamins.” Calling their eclectic style “junkyard,” they frenetically tap the genres of house, drum n’ bass, two-step, and hip-hop as gracefully as Savion Glover. Their debut, Hell’s Kitchen, perhaps the best melding of hip-hop and jungle out there, displayed their hard-edged vision and earned them props from both hip-hop heads and club kids alike.
Human Condition is definitely more song oriented than their debut album, continuing these two gifted musicians’ private war against turntablists, challenging the latter to construct songs as opposed to simply layering effects over beats. This album exemplifies the versatility of the junkyard style, never resting too long on familiar territory. However, like the mechanical graveyard, delving into this territory can lead to uneven results; while you can luck out and find that carburetor for your ’68 GTO, often you languish in useless Yugo parts. Fortunately, Ming + FS don’t drown us in ineffective Soviet technology, but there are hit-and-miss moments.
Ada Dyer’s (Naked Music) two contributions exemplify this. While the two-step gem, “Uncle Bubble,” definitely moves the body, “Some Die (Some Come Up)” moves the hands to tear out the hair. “Simple Mathematics,” a hip-hop dance cut, is simply extraneous. And “Capt. Omray’s Mumble Box” starts off with some lame beatboxing that screams for Rahzel or DMX (of Just Ice fame), but then explodes into a real nice, jazz-infected groove.
While I admire the duo’s adventurousness in melding genres, they haven’t quite come up with the cohesion of an Ozomatli to make all these styles their own. However, there are a lot of great dance cuts on here like “Intro To Life,” the ’80s breakdance funk of “Freak,” and the perverted Winnie the Pooh jam, “Is There Honey?” that make you almost forget any of their shortcomings. They are so few, your hips will hardly notice.