Music Reviews
David Waxman Presents Ultra Electro

David Waxman

Ultra Electro


Alas, the ubiquitous Ultra imprint finally makes its way out of the cheeseball trance clubs of South Beach and takes its everlasting beat-fest to darker, sexier surroundings.

While critics and hipsters alike sounded the death knell for electroclash years ago, Ultra – yes, a little late to the game – still believes it’s a medium with legs that can withstand the 15-minutes stigma and fallout. Surprisingly, they’re right.

Though the label has a predilection for more mainstream fare, Ultra Electro features a surprising number of remixes from familiar names and a bevy of underground electro floor-burners – both nicely split up into two discs here. Side A is a solid compendium of techno-lusting, retro-biting re-works, including the always-on Jacques Lu Cont’s revved-up take on Depeche Mode’s “A Pain That I’m Used To,” Jagz Kooner’s sweaty, strobe-light upheaval of Ladytron’s “Sugar” and DFA’s (obligatory) cowbell-flecked rave-up of N.E.R.D.’s “She Wants to Move.”

In an era where iPods are making DJs out of bedroom idealists, Ultra enlisted the mixing services of its own A&R director David Waxman, a renowned national DJ himself who couldn’t have a more appropriate name for this compilation. Plundering his crates and utilizing his tastemaking abilities, Waxman provides a hefty blend of what’s current, both in a megalopolis like Crobar and in the teeming backrooms of NYC downtown dives. Side B offers much of the latter, as deeper, more urgent, more aggro electro-funk and new-wave is presented by the likes of Armand Van Helden, Mylo and others.

While it’s usually this writer’s MO to ignore Ultra compilations at a record store, this fine mix proves to me that the label shouldn’t be fully discounted. In effect, it’s also proved – as well as it should to the millions of hiptards who’ve turned their back on such music – that electro has overcome the silly “electroclash” tag, thriving well beyond its purported shelf life and still indulging our tastes for retro.

Ultra Records:

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