Five for five
Luciano-Fabric 41 (Fabric)(UK)
Fabric, oh why or why, did you drop the ball on the promo CD and send me to some stupid online stream i couldn't even download? I'll forgive you this one time but please try not to let it happen again- especially not with a mix this good. Unfortunately for you Fabric I shared this one with some friends to protest my anger at the loss. Where do I start? First off this is a great house mix, like Miami but after one too many rides on the space shuttle. Tracks like Julien Jabre's classic "Jungle Beatz" add the foundation of solid south-of-the-border tribal house while remixes by Luciano and Tiefschwarz of "Good Love" (Inner City) and "Rise From Your Grave" (Phuture) show that the dude likes to kick it old school. Old school with a brand new twist that is, and it shows on the totally euro stylee breakdown via M83 and the creepy monolog recited by the multi talented Luciano on "Getting Late" on his own Cadenza imprint. Talk about a vertical monopoly, is there anything this guy doesn't do? This mix rocks and is probably one of the best so far this year. Goddamn you Fabric!!!
Various-Balance 013- SOS 3xCD (EQ)(Australia)
Yipes! A sprawling progressive house sojourn as a three disk import from Australia. This thing is just so bloated even despite the trainspotter tracklisting from Demi, Desyn Massielo, and Omid 16B that it could have just as easily been condensed down into one great disk. There are some great moments here (mostly Omid's disk which was moderately okay) but overall SOS's brand is mostly just a nightmare of tired progressive house. You remember the kind that was all pretty and sounded like BT? Well here it is again in its ten-years-later disguise. It sucks and I wish it could have been way better but all the big guys have been stumbling this year so I am not surprised that the Balance series just hit a weak grounder to third with this one.
Quivver-Dirty Nails & Vapour Trails (Boz Boz)(UK)
John Graham, the guy was practically the sound of the Hooj Choons imprint during the height of its epic trance days. Godawful tracks under alias like Space Manoeuvers, Tilt, and of course Quivver that pretty much turned my off to trance music forever. The one thing I did always like about Graham was his awesome voice which was used to great effect on the last Hybrid album. Those soulful pipes show up here on "Ghosts" which sounds like a ghost ruminating on what seems to be a failed relationship. The drum n bass beat is deep and dreamy while Graham croons like a cross between Roger Wakeling and Peter Gabriel. It's truly amazing and such a shame that the rest of this disk is such utter crapola, again on that tired europrogtastic expressway. The so-called drum & bass track "Chasin A Feelin" is about as dreary and eye-rolling as it comes these days while "2 Notes N A Beat" manages to just squeeze out a moderate amount of feeling. The only winner here besides "Ghosts" is "Dancing In Dark Rooms" which is an old track at this point. My trance sensors are strong on this one and it does not pass muster.
Ready Fire Aim-This Changes Nothing (Expansion Team)(US)
I expected the worst on this collaboration between the Phillip Glass wannabe Sage Rader and DJ/producer Stakka and mostly Rader lives up to his overblown expectations on this one. However, suprisingly it's the jungle producer Stakka keeps the duo in the game with some genre bending production work updating the New Order/Depeche Mode template that keeps the album moving along in the many draggy spots. The cover of Jane's Addiction's "I Would For You" is worth the price of admission alone but the two rock n roll songs are totally lame dudes.
Noisia-Fabriclive 40 (Fabric)(UK)
I have a friend who just loves Noisia. I don't get it, to me this is nothing but heart attack music and yet another incarnation of Dutch hardcore-this time from a Groningen trio called Noisia. Now don't get me wrong I definitely loved Dutch hardcore and gabber at one point in my life but this incarnation sounds way too much like Tool or Linkin Park and that to me that just plain sucks. I hate those bands and if I wanted to listen to music like that I would listen to the aforementioned bands. Noisa, in their defense, does keep its hardcore techy and precise, in fact a lot of this mix sounds like classic mid 90s Photek updated for more modern tastes. They are also clever and show it on tracks like "Brown Time" -otherwise it's still all heart attack music to these tired old ears. No more of these this year Fabric if you are fishing for suggestions.