Connecticut’s Thirsty Ear label has been compared to the European jazz indie ECM, which also promoted musicians drawn to improvisational music beyond all categories and commercial radio formats. The idea of being uncategorizable is dear to the heart of DJ/producer/media theorist Paul Miller, who in the persona of DJ Spooky forms a trippy acid-thrash combo featuring the drums of Slayer, the guitar of Living Colour, the intermittent voice of Public Enemy and the digitized imagination of Meat Beat Manifesto. With that in mind, buy Drums of Death knowing that the high-profile guest artists involved didn’t come to this player’s ball just to sound like they usually do. High-energy risks are taken both on original and cover material. Sonic puns and provocative juxtapositions are tried — all more for the sake of self-liberation than for pleasing any identifiable crowd. The results are mixed, but on the whole exhilarating. The single ‘B-side Wins Again’ is one of three Public Enemy covers intended to lure mainstream listeners only for the express purpose of ripping them a new earhole.