Josh Wink is about to turn 40 years old, and he’s a wise one – the man has witnessed the rise and plateau of electronic music in the US firsthand. A certified innovator and landmark creative force in electronic music, Wink continues to carry the flag for deliberately trippy dance music to this day. His latest, When A Banana Was Just A Banana (DL – CD), sports a nostalgic title and a driving acid-house sound that might remind thirty-somethings of their first exposure to the tribal, cerebral style that Wink helped to come of age in the early 1990’s.
The album spares no one with its non-stop beat barrage, and one wonders if Wink’s aging brethren might have trouble dancing through the whole sweaty affair. They’ll try, no doubt, as this is a psychotically infectious collection of gyrating gems begs the body to move. The acid-house genre’s subtle variations abound, from the mesmerizing thump and ping of “Airplane Electronique” and “Everybody to the Sun,” the polyrhythmic brain-bending of “Counter Clock 319,” and the minimalist slant of “Dolphin Smack.” The disc has an irresistable ebb-and-flow, with moments of abstract spaciness giving way to intense meltdowns, with the beat never dropping from beneath the multicolored madness.
Through the whole album runs the compositional undercurrent Wink is known for. You won’t find a vocal sample latched on for the sake of crowd cognizance, or a straight-up sampled beat designed to include the pop culture junkies. Instead, Wink utilizes his endless cache of sounds, effects, and digital tomfoolery to make his mind-expanding sound come to life, propelled by a positively primal collection of percussion elements. I never thought I would consider an album as insistent and dance-oriented as this “comforting,” but that’s exactly what this time-tested musician has created – music that’s able to run with the wildest imaginary beasts around and still be timeless, dynamic and engaging.