Steve Aoki Wonderland

Steve Aoki Wonderland
It's been four years since Cali DJ/producer extraordinaire (a waning title) Steve Aoki released his first commercial mix, Pillowface and His Airplane Chronicles, to mediocre reviews. In the aftermath, he spent copious amounts of time travelling across the continents, paying particular attention to his native West coast (he's played Vancouver in the past 12 months more times than I can count), and working on his first full-length, Wonderland, a 13-track LP with guest accompaniment on every tune. After all, what's a Steve Aoki album without the collaborations? But in typical Aoki fashion, he runs through myriad genres as the artist roster progresses and on some you can't necessarily distinguish his hallmark electro-pop, like the bruising scream-fest that is "The Kids Will Have Their Say," featuring Sick Boy. The effect is an output that sounds more like a mixtape than a full-length. Some tracks are standout, infectious gems, like the bouncy, bass-heavy "Control Freak," featuring Blaqstarr and My Name is Kay, and, admittedly, the surprisingly catchy "Earthquakey People," featuring Rivers Cuomo. Even the '90s synth-pop sensibilities of "Heartbreaker," featuring Lovefoxxx, deserve mention. These gems, however, are paired with some serious head scratchers and collaborations, with the likes of Zuper Blahq (will.i.am. anyone?), LMFAO and Rob Roy, which just don't work. Who decided Lil Jon screeching for three minutes on "Emergency" was a good idea? (Dim Mak)