Deepak Mantena, soon to be better known as Junk Culture, is the sample-happy, electronic virtuoso signed to Girl Talk's Illegal Art label. Mantena takes his name from a 1984 Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark album -- and the Portland-by-way-of-Idaho-and-Mississippi artist just picked up a tour with the Black Moth Super Rainbow side project, Tobacco.
Junk Culture waxes melodic on his nineteen-minute debut, West Coast, which is yet another ode to the dread coast. Yeah, we get it -- California is the shit. Thanks chillwave, Arnold, Katy Perry and even you, Snoop Dogg, for ruining it for us forever. I can't wait for snowwave--I dream of Swedish bands with names like Tundra Eyes and Coniferous Lake, brandishing synthesizers and droning into echo-y mics about ice castles and freezerburnt souls.
But West Coast isn't all surf. Mantena's skill is weaving together hip-hop, indie, soul and funk samples -- and matching them with hints of Girl Talk's penchant for eclectic yet complimentary beats and the ambient leanings of experimental outfits such as Emeralds. The ephemeral "For Elise," for instance, is a one minute track that sounds too organic and pretty to be a mash-up. Mantena's style is such that it's easy to forget about the samples, however -- that is, until you get a jarring loop of Avey Tare's unmistakable voice, taken from "Brothersport" or an Andre 3000 sample (at least I think that's him). You forget that the sounds on West Coast are primarily samples, because for the most part, the samples are fractured, screwed and filtered through a hand-held recorder until they're barely recognizable. The result is a glitchy, sometimes dancey, genre-bending sound that's sure to spawn many, many ripoffs.
You can check out Junk Culture on Friday night with Superfun Yeah Yeah Yeah Rocketship, The Vanilla Beans and DJ Eric Hall at Antarctica, 5226 Gravois.