Ratatat: LP3

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Ratatat: LP3

With its ambitious cross-cultural rhythmic palate and the strongest melodies to date, Ratatat's LP3 is practically begging for MCs to jack and loop a beat in order to complete the cycle. In addition to the two Brooklynites' history of composing the sort of catchy squiggles of sound on their self-titled debut and Classics, synthesizer visionary Evan Mast and guitar god Mike Stroud make no secret of their love for hip-hop. Their two self-released volumes of Ratatat Remixes, featuring original beats, stand up to vocal tracks from icons (Biggie), troublemakers (Devin the Dude) and even the most pop-oriented rhymers (Kanye West).

A harpsichord can work equally well for Destiny's Child and Blur, but Ratatat are among the few artists who can find the common ground between the two styles on "Dura." These sorts of contrasts of past and present, and genres both straight and extremely bent have won them comparisons to Air and a couple other French duos that need no extra attention here. The drumless attack of 007-ready "Shiller," shows confidence and also a vision that will keep fellow instrumentalists on their toes. Like many LP3 tracks, "Mirando" still mines the trademark fuzzy guitar that has been the unifying "voice" of Ratatat's compositions since the duo unveiled "Seventeen Years," but it is only one of many building blocks for an infectious island rhythm. Somehow, the band allows for dabbling in dub ("Flynn"), as well as a piano jam that'll have you throwing tiki torches to the sky ("Bruleé").

Adventurous beat-mining producers like the aforementioned West could very well be using bits of several of these tracks for a Common beat before the year is finished. But even if that doesn't happen, keep this collection close: Someone's definitely going to try to steal your copy.

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