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Customer Review

on 27 November 2001
This has been on my "investigate" list for a few months. Now that it's won a Muzik award for best mix CD of the year, I've finally got round to picking it up. And, oh my word, very impressive it is too.
The overall sound is possibly best described as breakbeat meets two-step, but don't let that put you off, as there's a great deal more to it than that. I'm not usually a big fan of "nu school breaks" - I find the genre sterile, flat, unaware of its own history, and boringly un-funky: intended more for serious chin-stroking than for having fun. And two-step seems to me increasingly formulaic, restrictive and conservative. Besides which, dance music in general hasn't impressed me much of late - the freshest sounding stuff (Röyksopp, Playgroup) being more on a home listening tip than anything else.
Which makes this CD all the more wonderful. The breakbeats and two-step rhythms are mashed up with all sorts of other influences (you name it - it's in there somewhere) to create something that this jaded set of ears hasn't really heard before. The overall effect is of a live sound system in full effect - it's got that rough-edged immediacy - but in actual fact, a lot of care in the studio has clearly gone into the sequencing and mixing.
They've also used an MC throughout the mix, who - rather than rapping over the tracks - occasionally comes in to drop a few encouraging soundbites, much as a live MC would with a sound system. This happens mostly in the first half of the mix; once you've been brought up to speed with some of the more obviously exciting tracks, the pace smooths out, the flow is more even, and the MC takes a back seat.
There are plenty of familiar sounding elements on this set - in fact, the over-familiarity of some of the source material was putting me off buying the CD. However, enough is done to these tracks to make them sound fresh and different, so that the overall effect is of a mix which is very much aware of its context. It's not just a collection of brand new tunes - it has a history too.
This awesome CD has put a smile on my face and restored my faith in the future of dance music. Yes, it's that good!
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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars