Back before Skazi, before Eskimo, even before 1200 Mics, we as a community still had to fling shit at someone. Ari Linker was that someone. Rewind: Alien Project used to be two people, Ari and Astrix. Ari was the shit one. Ari then allegedly – I said allegedly – nicked off with all the soundbanks and samples from their duo work, and set about rehashing it, with below-average results leading to above-average success. He is also the world’s leading no-show. There are countless tales of him over-running DJ sets to keep final-hour limelight for himself, and even one anecdote of him stealing headphones off one of the biggest acts in the world. There are even quiet industry murmurs about the labels on both sides of the Atlantic that turned this album down. I was once told how he would come down to the dancefloor after a gig and invite women into his trailer for a line of the old Bolivian Boring and a grope. Everyone’s got dirt on this man.
Even then, he was formulaic. Before formulaic was really fashionable. He was very good at sounding like himself, because he used all the same sounds on every track. Indeed, when psyreviews published this (at the bottom), we didn’t really think he could go any lower. How fucking wrong we were.
Super Buster almost makes me want to say “how the mighty have fallen,” but this would presuppose that this man was once, in some way, mighty. The track is exquisitely pedestrian: plodding bassline, predictable changes, and an offensively melodic midsection. The title of Missing Linker suggests that Ari may have a retarded genetic makeup of interest only to anthropologists; the track itself is the most pathetically limp 1200Mics ripoff yet recorded.
Deeper features a cringeworthy vocal chorus that even DJ Sammy would think twice about before using; Ari has no such shame of course. Interestingly, right after the vocal finishes, there’s a drop when the beats come back in: and somehow he’s managed to completely balls even that bit up, so hardly any energy is released. The point is missed. Likewise NRG: if Ari wants to morph over to a ravier sound, that’s his prerogative. But the man cannot even produce this stuff properly: there is nothing to engage a rave crowd, nothing to engage anybody. The problem isn’t that this “just isn’t my musical thing.” The problem is that this is bad, bad music.
Get Up is inoffensive, but it’s plainly cobbled-together from the sounds out of the other tracks here; meanwhile the remixes of Tweaky and Groovy – not, let’s be honest, high-points in this man’s canon – are lacklustre, rushed tracks that make Ari come across as not just stretched for ideas, but absolutely and irretrievably devoid of them.
The title track does, I concede, stand up fairly well by itself. It’s cohesive, it’s pleasant, it’s not going to change the world, but it’s not bad. The problem is it sounds every bit identical to the other tracks on this album – which brings us again to this issue of ideas. Essentially, there’s enough material here to support one good track. One single. One compilation track. The fact that it’s been stretched out over an entire album is a cynical smack in the face.
We might ridicule Skazi for being the shameless frontman. We may poke fun at Infected for Duvdev’s off-key singing. But we could never quite call them people talentless timewasters; we can and we will call Ari Linker this, and then some.
This is the most turgid, uninspiring, rushed and desperately awful album in quite some time. Activation my arse.