Anthony “Shake” Shakir, Arise


Buy Vinyl

Whether out of self-censorship or plain old yacht rock ignorance, almost none of the press surrounding Anthony “Shake” Shakir’s Frictionalism 1994-2009 has mentioned that “Arise,” one of the retrospective’s standout inclusions, is basically just a beefed-up edit of the closing drum break from Steely Dan’s “Aja.” That’s right, techno brethren: Shake just made you listen to Steely Dan. Featuring the percussion acrobatics of legendary session drummer Steve Gadd (who, rock ‘n roll lore has it, pulled off his contribution to the eight-minute track in a single take), the title cut from the band’s 1977 album has always felt like something more than a guilty pleasure, a soft rock epic with enough funk and stoney strangeness to win over even the Dan’s most humorless anti-fans. And on a 1998’s …Waiting For Russell 12″ for his Frictional imprint, he officially brought Walter Becker’s and Donald Fagen’s irony machine — perhaps the smoothest conceptual art project of all time — into the fold of his myriad influences.

First arriving in the shops just ahead of Rush Hour’s seminal Shake compilation, an “Arise”-specific reissue from the house fanboys at Syncrophone seeks to woo record buyers with clear vinyl and a Trus’me remix. If you’ve already shelled out for Frictionalism on vinyl, or if you snagged the record the first time around, is it worth shelling out again? Considering you’re likely to wear out the grooves on whichever the version you’ve already got, I’d say so. “Arise” takes the rather ambiguous mood of the source material and distills it to pure euphoria. Rather than build a song in the strictest sense, Shake loops the sweet spot of the break and, with various combinations of drum machines and filters, lets it expand and contract. When it bursts open, as it does just a handful of times, it’s truly a dance floor moment to behold. If anything, “Arise” proves a producer can make something inherently tracky (typically a term of derision around these parts) without sacrificing craft or playability. It’s a relatively simple disco-house slight of hand, sure, but it’s a drop you won’t soon forget — or stop trying to bust out in every DJ set you can manage.

Prime Numbers labelhead Trus’me trades in the kind of sample-based slow cookers Shake is only now getting due credit for. Strangely, his remix of a remix shies away from the producers’ shared aesthetic by going rather big-room. Where Shake found joy, Trus’me finds bleakness, if not end-of-night nihilism. If the mood is present at all in Steely Dan’s original, it’s almost nowhere to be found in “Arise,” a point made all the more apparent by the dissonance of the original tracks playing softly underneath the added shadowy, Carl Craig by-way-of deep house vamps. It’s an interesting recontextualization to say the least, but I’m not sure that it casts either Trus’me or Shake in the finest light. “Arise” thrives on sunshine, and this vampire remix leaves me thinking it should stay that way. Still, any Frictionalism holdouts should take note of this release. And while you’re at it, make a pit stop at the used bin and root around for Aja. Shake can tell you: it won’t bite.

Transire  on March 2, 2010 at 5:33 PM

the remix is very good too ! ACE.

cz  on March 3, 2010 at 9:26 PM

It is so hard for me to wrap my head around the concept of somebody into techno but not into Steely Dan. It boggles the mind.

bernardo  on March 4, 2010 at 12:53 PM

Why doesn’t anyone else seem to love the Trus’ Me remix? I think its a very creative reimagining with some seriously dope drum programming!

tom/pipecock  on March 4, 2010 at 10:47 PM

i actively dislike Trus’me usually, and in this case i can’t believe someone would let him anywhere near a Shake track much less pay him to remix it. horrible decision, weak results, etc.

also gotta say that Steely Dan are the shit, Aja is a party record between Black Cow and Peg alone, but the whole thing is dope. they have a ton of other good shit as well.

josh baines  on March 8, 2010 at 6:37 AM

Big tune this…first heard it a few years back on a CD that came with some awful book on techno, where it was labeled as a Villalobos song…anyone know why this confusion arose?

Popular posts in review

  • None found