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by Don Crispy

Junkie XL
Tom Holkenberg aka Junkie XL

When you're the first person permitted by the Elvis Estate to remix an Elvis Presley song-and that song subsequently goes to Number 1 worldwide-your profile (if not bank account) gets a considerable boost.

"If you do something with a track of Elvis," said Dutch producer Tom Holkenberg, aka Junkie XL, in a recent interview with MTV, "the profit won't belong to you. You do it for the honor, and that's my profit. Now I'm approached by artists to do remixes, and then you can make a good business deal."

The positive fallout from Holkenburg's success with last year's Elvis vs. JXL track, "A Little Less Conversation," can be seen in the roster of stars he's assembled to help him on his forthcoming new album, Radio JXL-A Broadcast from the Computer Hell Cabin (Roadrunner), which Holkenburg brings to Liquid Room on Friday.

The mammoth 28-track, two-CD affair, set for early release in Japan on May 28, includes vocal contributions from blues Grammy winner Solomon Burke and electropop legend Gary Numan, raps from Public Enemy godfather Chuck D., and a reworking of a vintage track from reggae great Peter Tosh, just to name a few of the collaborations.

The album is perhaps one of dance music's first concept albums, with a "3pm" disc representing daytime radio and pop music, and a "3am" disc reflecting nighttime radio and a more club-oriented, DJ mix sound. Tracks run from the dark dub vibes of "Spirits" featuring singer Saffron (frontwoman for Republica) to the digital rock pyrotechnics of "Access to the Excess" with Chuck D., to the soulful inflections of the first single, "Catch Up To My Step," featuring Solomon Burke.

The album will also be on the Internet in a unique, radio-style webcast on the RadioJXL.com website. The site will feature a streaming broadcast of the album, a special "hidden" transmission, and live broadcasts on location from some of the world's largest festivals.

Often compared with big beat acts like The Chemical Brothers and Fatboy Slim, Holkenburg worked with Nerve and Fear Factory before launching Junkie XL in 1995. "Junkie" comes from Holkenburg's reputation as a studio junkie, and "XL" stands for "eXpanding Limits." The act debuted with Saturday Teenage Kick in 1997, and has since figured large in alternative dance circles. What separates Junkie XL from other electronic bands, Holkenburg says, is that "groups like Fatboy Slim are presented as dance acts with rock guitars. I consider us more of an alternative rock band using dance tools."

Junkie XL is also known for bringing the dynamics of a live rock show to electronica, and often enlists vocalists, rappers, guitarists, drummers and turntablists in its performances. Holkenburg has cultivated a strong following in Japan through previous visits to Liquid Room and appearances at Fuji Rock Festival ('98, '02).

Friday will be a busy day for Holkenburg, with an evening solo performance to be followed by an all-nighter as part of the long-running progressive house Ocean party with DJs 19 and Yoda.

Junkie XL plays Liquid Room May 16. See concert listings for details.

credit: Liquid Room