19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
DJing at its pinnacle: astounding,
This review is from: 70 Minutes of Madness - Journeys by DJ (Audio CD)
As a DJ, I have often quarrelled with the notion that I am an artist. I am not, and there are very few DJs in the world who are. There are DJs who can program a set to produce some form of atmosphere, and there are others who can do all forms of trickery that is undoubtedly very clever. However, there are very few DJs who can do both. But moreover, there are very few DJs who are experimenting with the whole concept of Decks and Mixer; Coldcut have always been the shining light. I had the extreme pleasure of witnessing them live on decks and many computers, and it was simply the most fiercly inventive stuff I've witnessed. It was then that I remembered my treasured Journeys By DJ...
When you think that Coldcut were upto these tricks over 10 years ago, it is simply a phenomenal achievement, and the pinnacle of this was their 70 Minutes of Madness. Within these 36 tracks are every genre of music available. Long before the hype surrounding "eclectic" or "bar-club" DJs, Coldcut were doing it. But its so much more than this: yes there is everything on this mix, but you cannot notice. It is seamless and inticately woven with all manner of samples. So many individual moments stand out from this mix: the overlaying of Junior Reid's dub with storming Drum n Bass; the Jhelisa accapella over DJ Food; the simply sublime construction using "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" and Luke Slater's sweeping pads. So many moments of hilarity also, most notably: "Can your heart stand the shocking truth of grave robbers from outer space?".
But within these moments of brilliance is an overall structure that is fresh and inventive and brilliantly executed. Opening with Drum n Bass, moving through to Avant-garde techno, to Jackin' Hip-Hop beats, and finishing with laid-back, deep Trip-Hop, this is programming at its finest. We are assaulted with varying emotional states and intensity. We voyage from intensity to humour to grooves to funk to beauty to dark claustrophobia to political musings to relaxed and dream-like states, all with an overt lucidity. But these changes are not harsh or abrasive; they simply provide the structure of the piece...
I say "piece" because that is what it becomes. You begin to realise that this isn't just a collection of Coldcut's favourite plates, but is a whole, a unified piece of music. Thus, it works on the higher level as a 70 minute symphony. At points, it is easy to get lost amongst the huge tracklisting, and this only fuels the intrigue of the piece. It is simply fluid, and yet a swirling, ever-changing fluidity that has never been matched by any DJ anywhere, anyhow, anytime. To be blunt: it is the greatest production of any DJ, and unfortunately it may never be equalled.