Wesley Pentz has been at the centre of a resurgence of sorts for club music for about five years now. Starting with his involvement in a Baltimore club night called Hollertronix, his production work with M.I.A and Santogold, a distinctly (and rather excellent) non-club album entitled Florida and the work that he is perhaps most-lauded for, as a vanguard for highlighting global music to Western audiences such as his repping of Brazil’s baile funk with his Favela Strikes Back mixtape which led to the establishment of the Mad Decent label and non-profit social relief work for impoverished youth through music in indigenous areas of Australia.
It’s certainly an impressive CV and this addition is an attempt to quantify Pentz’ remix and original work of the last four years into a physical release. The disc contains 16 tracks with four original Diplo songs, two productions for other artists (Bonde Do Role & Kano) and remixes for the likes of Hot Chip, Claude Von Stroke, Black Lips, Spank Rock and CSS. While it was admirable to release this as a first volume with more presumably to come, perhaps it would have been better to release a definitive compilation as numerous tracks here really aren’t that exciting. Remixes of Black Lips, Peter, Bjorn and John’s ‘Young Folks’, Hot Chip’s ‘Shake A Fist’ and Samim are forgettable and better left to an ephemeral existence on The Hype Machine. Standouts include Diplo’s own foray into Brazilian Funk ‘Newsflash’ with Sandra Melody, his remix of ‘Paper Planes’ (the best of a gazillion out there), the fruits of his Australian journey featuring Aboriginal rap, ‘Smash a Kangaroo’ and his remixes of ‘Let’s Make Love and Listen to Death from Above’ by CSS and ‘Put That Pussy On Me’ by Spank Rock.
For all the good though, it’s hard not to ask why his genuinely brilliant remixes aren’t featured. Where are his reworkings of Yeah Yeah Yeah’s ‘Gold Lion’, Kanye West’s ‘Gold Digger’, Three Six Mafia’s Stay Fly’, his superior Bloc Party remix of ‘Helicopter’? Instead, the compilation focuses on his remix work from 2007. Here’s hoping that volume two will feel a little more definitive to match his prolific status.