On the Off-Centre EP, Jack Dangers and his shape-shifting Meat Beat Manifesto pick up right where they left off on their last Thirsty Ear release, 2005's At the Center: at the nexus of electronica and jazz. With mainly the same group of musicians--Peter Gordon on flute, Craig Taborn on keyboards and The Bad Plus drummer Dave King, with Dangers weighing in on bass, bass flute, clarinet and all kinds of electronics and sampling--Off-Centre offers six tracks of prime-time, visionary electronic-jazz soul food.
On a remix of "Wild" (from At the Center), "Postcards," "Maintain Discipline" and "Dummyhead Stereo," Dangers and company serve up dreamy, deep-dish, groove-heavy 21st century dance-jazz. The flutes and bass clarinet are pushed right up front, on top of a spongy bed of electric piano, bass and all sort of witty effects and sampling. Lighthearted and playful, you can practically feel the joy and sense of fun they had laying it down.
Dangers is joined by Ben Stokes, Mark Pistel and Lynn Farmer on all sorts of sampling and drums on two big-beat, rave-ready live tracks, "Shotgun! (Blast to the Brain)" and "Prime Audio Soup." If "Prime Audio Soup" sounds familiar, it should; it was featured in The Matrix. Which is only appropriate--if anyone can negotiate The Matrix and come out looking like a champ, it would be Jack Dangers.