Despite his imposing stature and famously barbed wit, Mr. Mumu is really a sensitive guy. Never one to leave a dance floor despondent, he has an undisputed gift for club clairvoyance. Since moving to Portland from his home in Iowa seven years ago, Mumu has become a weekend fixture as resident DJ at the super-swank downtown cocktail lounge Saucebox--a gig that has made him one of the city's most sought-after and visible vinyl mixers.
As the man behind Dirty (Portland's first and longest-running electro-disco club night), he has become a champion for breaking down musical barriers and breaking in new ideas; he impeccably weaves cunning, dewy-fresh techno sounds with familiar classics and large swatches of ethnic flavors. "My motto is 'Always end with a different thing than you start with,'" he confides. While we had Mr. Mumu at his perch in the bustling Saucebox on a Tuesday night, we asked him for some record recommendations. (Corban Lester)
Mr. Fingers & Larry Heard, "Can You Feel It"
"At the first club I worked in, I would play a night called 'House Nation.' Right before this song, I'd turn all the lights off--except for two white pin spots by the DJ booth--and fill the room with fog. When the [opening] vocal got to 'and Jack had a groove!' I'd turn all the lights on. It was dramatic, and everyone loved it--this song was one of the original acid-house anthems. I got hard every time." Serge Santiago, "Adventures in Failure"
"Serge is one half of Radio Slave, who make re-edits and bootlegs of hip-hop and electro tracks. This one is just a great Italo-disco cut. It's light and bubbly but has a dark edge to it that lends itself more to electro. There's a drama to it--not 'Erasure drama,' though. It's poppy, and there's melody--but then there's this Jaws thing about it."
Shiny Grey, "Why? (Bob Sinclar Remix)"
"A totally electro poppy house song from a little French label. There's this vocal, 'Won't you tell me why?' Then, out of nowhere comes this synth part from Eurythmics' 'Sweet Dreams.' It's probably getting played to death in clubs across Europe right now--then, next month, someone will ruin it with some cheesy, overdone remix by some big producer."
Africanism All Stars, "Kalimbo"
"A brilliant new version of an Afro-Latin track originally by Malinga Five from 1976 with big drums and African chanting. It's another one of those tracks that's really fun, but has a sinister undercurrent to it, a heaviness to it. Both this and Shiny Grey are remixed by the same guy--Bob Sinclair. It's the kind of track that makes some people wonder where they are, and other people wish they knew what those guys are singing about."
Mr. Mumu plays "All Things Considered" every Friday at the Saucebox, 214 SW Broadway, 241-3393. 10 pm. Cover. All ages.