Basement Jaxx Crazy Itch Radio

Basement Jaxx Crazy Itch Radio
Photo: Jamie Beeden
In seven years, London duo Basement Jaxx (Simon Ratcliffe and Felix Buxton) have defied all of dance music’s quick-to-die trends and continually kept their fire blazing. Reviving house music with their first two albums, on their third album Kisch Kasch, they reinvented themselves with a radical statement that completely put them ahead of their ilk. Now three years later, Ratcliffe and Buxton have chosen to explore more uncharted waters through the guise of a radio broadcast for their fourth LP. Such a gimmick can easily throw off an album’s bearings, but the Jaxx pull off this concept with flying colours thanks to their hearty appetite for testing their music-making abilities. As a whole, Crazy Itch Radio is another multi-coloured cavalcade that sets its focus on non-stop entertainment. Swedish sensation Robyn joins the circus on "Hey You” for a majestic fusion of Balkan folk music and trampoline beats; "Take Me Back To Your House” demonstrates how natural a banjo can sound in their canon; and "Run 4 Cover” warps the grime verses of Lady Marga into a hyperactive beat frenzy. Some may whinge about the lack of a club banger like "Where’s Your Head At?” or "Red Alert,” but as they’ve proven now for a fourth time, Basement Jaxx are more interested in presenting a full-on aural experience that will preserve their legacy and this works.

What’s with the radio broadcast simulation?
Ratcliffe: Our albums have always been like that really. It’s kind of just flicking through our brains, the modern world we live in, and the multiple personalities of the city and ourselves. Spinning the dial and hitting all kinds of languages and sounds.

Your last album was the product of ignoring club music, but Crazy Itch Radio seems like you’ve gone back to the club circuit…
Kisch Kasch was definitely trying to fight against what people expected of us. With this album I think we wanted to do something less spiky and a bit more smooth and soulful, and recapture some of the warmth was on the first album, Remedy.

The Chemical Brothers, the Prodigy and Fatboy Slim all fell out of fashion. How do you guys stay fresh?
We try to make music that is modern and contemporary, but also longer lasting. I think we’ve always wanted to do something artistic and original, with as much passion as possible. We hope to be judged as music makers, but dance music people don’t quite know what we’re doing and rockers just think we’re DJs. Often we just fall in this "nowhere land” and we need to not be afraid of that and stake our claim there and call it "Basement Jaxx Land.” (XL)