James Zabiela - Alive

The person who amazed so much the public in the last years with his unusual skill in the electronic music is back with a new material from the legendary Renaissance series. After Sound In Motion, the compilation "Alive" seems to keep James Zabiela in the top, since he succeeds once again to amaze his fans with his dement sets, preferring all those kind of samples, vocals, mixing innovations, pass behind of what is calling an ordinary dj. Also very young, Zabiela imposed himself with a characteristic style, unique, clever and mature, which you recognize immediately, saying "yes, indeed, this is James Zabiela". Apparently simple, we have to admit that behind this polished style are staying some full years of work, white nights in studios and besides this a pretentious equipment, which starts to become as a given moment like a brother. The compilation "Alive" is based on two cds and contains an amalgam of styles, Zabiela passing through his filter styles such as breaks, progressive house, tech-house, acid house and even techno. I've waited for so long to listen to this compilation, and now that it sounds in my ears, I'll try as much as I can to reveal it to the readers.

The beginning is typical for Zabiela, with an impressive intro succeeding to convince the listeners to take part to a fascinating journey into the world of sounds. I've always been touched by the way James arranges his vocals, effects, loops and samples, in order to create a unique mix. Soon make its appearance Diplomat with the track "Number One Mc & Dj Crew", greeting us with an electro breakbeat atmosphere, which continues with a perfect fading of the next track, "Gangstas", produced by Si Begg. An incendiary rhythm, surprised by scratches and loops, a lot of flange effects and reverbs overflow us, developing a space full of energy and dynamism. The same active, the bass line is changing, continuing with Elite Force and the track "Peyote Road", a playful house, contained by sexy grooves and noisy synths. For the end unleashes the melodic line also, formed by a high string, all these going to an acceleration of the rhythm. Slowly, the sounds are getting lost in favor of some other, being undermined at the beginning by the powerful bass line, which leads the mix to Hisham Samavi and the track "Holding On". With a frisky and attractive bass line, the track push through the samples and effects' fog, also annexing a funny male vocal. Certainly a veritable track, "Holding On" is on the top of my preferences. Very simple and opened, the track appears as a new space, virgin and pure. But in short time, Rob Mello Presents No Ears Dub Volume Ii - Fantasize' (No Ears Dub) together with Undeworld - Dark & Long (Zabiela's Live Dub & Long Mash U really enchants the listeners, offering to the listener s session of progressive with evident influences of tech. It's very interesting Zabiela's ability of mixing, succeeding on this way too to brake the barriers of a pattern style, sticking upon the listener's memory a sophisticated, complicated, abstract and elevated sound. In the breaks atmosphere enters Hisham Samawi with the track "Spirals", inflaming the atmosphere a little and creating some much more movement. The things don't stop here, because Smash TV makes us to feel as though one might give birth to bullants with the track "Circuit Breaker"; I can't find my words to express exactly what happens on this track, and as it wasn't complicated enough, Zabiela intervenes with a series of effects, flanges and scratches. The atmosphere explodes with the ardent synths of the track, but Dallas Holiday rakes out the fire with an atmospheric breaks, very melodic and meditative, "Forgive", which especially through the break down succeeds to turn auditorium's brain. An absolute fantastic rhythm and a worthy kick make the track to bloom as a flower, building unimaginable melodic lines, the emotional tension going down at the next track a little much sober and tech, Atomic feat. Sweet Hustler si "Shine a Light (Lee Coombes Remix)". The breakdown fills up with an effected vocal which, perseverant, remains alongside the track for a while. From here the sounds get simplify, remaining a constant rhythm, combined with a few synths and samples; Downpressor makes the mix to have some much dynamism, with the track "Nine (Elite Force Mix)", adding the audio imprint of the talented James Zabiela, making a break down to become more than impressive. Sven Sarvarko appears with a nice progressive combined with tech-house, even techno if we take a closer look. The obscure sounds come back, joining somber and dark bass lines, of low tonalities. Hardly after Donacha Costello and the track "Colorseries Blue A" the melody returns, the mix gaining some much colour and expressivity with Jeff Bennett and the track "Strange Items", under the specific sound of Zabiela. And so the first part of a memorable compilation is done, and I can certainly say that until now, Zabiela really was in his best days, having the inspiration to do this wonderful mix.

I always liked the way Zabiela opens a live set, a compilation, anything like this. This part contains some more breaks, is pretty much melodic and profound. After Southampton Sounds With Tardis Record Fuzz (Zabiela's Homebaked Intro) the things enter a normal path, with Basic Pleasure Model (Psykosonic) - How To Live (R3volve Mix - Zabiela's Cdjfx Dubit), a melodic and energetic track in the same time, which brings also a very tasty vocal. After this long session of old school breaks, Sound Alliance produces unique sensations with the track "C'est La Dior", containing the breaks for a while. Faithful to his talent, Zabiela insists here too on some effects and samples, not so obvious, but which sound extraordinary. After an alignment of synths and constant and essential riffs, the mix goes to tech-house, with PJ Davy and "What it's Worth". We enter thereby in a concentrated space, where the sounds blur the rational, freezing anything and building alongside a deep bass line a unique part of the mix. The mazy and twisted synths, chaotically arranged, compose an extremely bizarre and frightful melody, abstract through its power to attract. Easily, the things take some more dynamism and energy, creating daring and coltish bass lines, opened and optimistic. We can name here Lincoln with the track "Funky Odd Box". The track which follows is also subscribed in the tech-house sphere, threatening the melody and opting for abstract, hypnotic and repetitive sounds. After Perc – Ice Cream For Kenton (Spartak's Tek Dub), Diplomat – ZX Complex brakes the limits of the conformism, breaking any low of a peaceful sound. Extremely vital and energetic, the mix opens now a space destinated to those whom really want to move on Zabiela's rhythms. The situation continues some much time, including the next track in the same line; Kraymon & Future Funk Squad – Firewater really bits the hell out of the atmosphere, with a few extremely docile synths but with an out of control rhythm. The breaks continues with the extraordinary Alex Arzeno & Ali Kay – A New Day, a track literally dement, James innovating here too by the introduction of some expressive and interesting samples. Untill Deetron, the atmosphere is just out of control, it's like I already see those from the dancefloor how they react... "Don't You Know Why (Edit 9000)" changes the way to techno, to a desperate and energetic rhythm. The vibration of the track is proportional with our bliss, the beats of the track are beating at unison with those from our hearts. We simply live the atmosphere – we live ALIVE!!! This part of the mix really reminds you that you're alive, that you're not a vegetable, working on your adrenaline. One of the producers that I like much is featured on this cd too, Momu, who continues the mix in the techno direction. The fusion of abstract beats and the well concentrated rhythm makes from the Black Potters' remix of the track "Aduro" a track absolutely excellent for awakening. But, surprise! The vocals have returned, the melody, the breaks. Quadsquad amazes the listeners (he succeeded not only to amazes me but also to really impress me) with "Reach", a very good track, which elevates the level of the mix. But the time to end everything unfortunately has arrived. Zabiela didn't forget this thing, so he demonstrated once again his inventiveness and creativity. BT and the track "Childhood Montage" has been putted in charge to end this compilation, a slow track on which you can sink in yourselves, can enjoy life and the fact that you're listening to something unusual, something unique, special, something that doesn't looses in time but which it conserves itself, remaining in the electronic music history annals.

It's hard to know what music calls in us; what is for sure is that it arrives in such a profound zone, that even the madness itself couldn't enter there. For some, for most of us, the music is gratefully and caressing; for others it is the desired solvent, an undreamed way of killing themselves, of diving along with all it's best in them. Back to our compilation, I was speaking earlier about the electronic music history – yes, and I was right, I say it again and sustain that all the things on this planet have a certain purpose, that nothing drifts, nothing is pure hazard. And this happens also with "Alive" – anything has a purpose on this world, and almost anything leads us to music, so let's confer it some much respect.

Disc 1

01. Luke Vibert - Ambalek (Zabiela's Delboy edit)
02. Diplomat - Number One DJ & MC Crew
03. Si Begg - Gangsters
04. Elite Force - Peyote Road
05. Hisham Samawi - Holding On
06. Rob Mello / Underworld - No Ears Dub Volume II Fantasize / Dark & Long (No Ears dub / Zabiela's Live Dub & Long Mash Up)
07. Hisahm Samawi - Spirals
08. Smash TV - Circuit Breaker
09. Masket & Mullet - Forgive
10. Atomic Hoolagan - Shine A Light
11. Downpressor - Nine
12. Sven Savarko - Transition
13. Donacho Costello - Blue
14. Jeff Bennett - Strange Item (Zabiela's Tease edit)

Disc 2

01. Southampton Sounds with Tardis - Record Fuzz (Zabiela's Homebaked Intro mix)
02. Basic Pleasure Model & Psykosonic - How To Live (Zabiela's R3volve CDJFX dubit)
03. Sound Alliance - C'est La Dior
04. PJ Davy - What It's Worth
05. Lincoln - Funky Odd Box
06. Perc - Ice Cream For Kenton (Spartak's Tek dub)
07. Diplomat - ZX Complex
08. Future Funk Squad vs Kraymon - Firewater
09. Alex Arzeno & Ali Kay - A New Day
10. Deetron - Don't You Know Why` (9000 edit)
11. Momu - Adori (Blake Potters main mix)
12. Quadsquad - Reach (extended vocal version)
13. BT - Childhood Montage

James Zabiela - Alive






July 26 2004


August 23, 2004 at 12:35 PM CEST


Dragos Rusu

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