Pepe Deluxe 

Super Sound (Emperor Norton)

In an earlier life, DJ Slow, Ja-Jazz, and DJ James Spectrum produced a few swank slow jams for a phone sex company overseas. Experience pays. The 13 tracks collected on the Finnish turntable trio's debut warm up with soft-core porn grooves, then swell into the kind of catchy big-beat hooks that were missing on Fatboy Slim's latest album.

On slinky numbers such as "The Beat Experience" and "La Femme," phased Rhodes piano and synthesizer effects come to a sensual climax. The more stimulated jams "Woman in Blue" and "Super Sound" layer acoustic instruments and surf guitar over booming synthesizer bass. Screeching heavy slide guitar and harp mingle with bulky hip-hop bass and drums on "Everybody Pass Me By," simulating the revamped styles of elder bluesman R.L. Burnside. "The Ride" explodes in U.N.K.L.E.-like drum loops and resurfaces with an eerie harpsichord and sluggish harmonica straight out of an Ennio Morricone-scored spaghetti western. Super Sound might come off more like an assemblage of various artists than the studio workings of three globetrotting DJs. But whether it's upstaging more acclaimed DJs or experimenting with smut harmonies, Pepe Deluxe has put together a clever and enjoyable sound sampler.

More by Keith Gribbins


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