Marco Bailey - Mental Switch EP

Marco Bailey has been extremely successful as a DJ, producer and record label boss. His prototype label MB Elektronics has become a reliable source for pure techno assault weapons from the likes of Tom Hades, DJ Preach, Redhead and of course Marco himself.

And with the Elektronics imprint running smoothly the Belgian producer launched MB Selektions in 2004 to create a platform from which both he and other techno artists could forge further experimental sounds. Here on the labels 7th release, Marco appears for his second selection, delivering 3 different cuts to suit many moods.

First up is the charmingly named 'Bollocks', and luckily the title is in no way descriptive of the track itself. The first few bars are typically dark with a tough and relentless bass line designed for the floor. The pace is slower than we have come to expect from Marco in the studio, and minimalist percussion adds a refreshing and new element to this production. Choosing not to mess around too much Marco Bailey drops the main feature of the record early, and when the distorted electronic riff is introduced a fierce energy consumes the track. Dirty synths are added alongside a machine like vocal 'Control' sample and the use of both components creates real drama. Extra equalisation helps to generate further twists and turns that should translate well to the dancefloor. The breakdown contains both breakbeat and techno influences that combine to whip up a real storm when the beat kicks back in. In the final sections extra flexibility is applied to the riff and the groove becomes elastic and loose as a result. On the first couple of plays it would appear that 'Bollocks' would be just at home on MB Elektronics, and it should generate a suitable frenzy with fans of the harder material. However the reduced tempo and fresh influences should also allow this track to find favour with more experimental house and techno followers.

'Ice Breaker' on the B-side is a different story altogether. It is a deeper affair that appears to be influenced by the current minimal and electronic scenes. The shuffling sub bass line and click percussion conjure up comparisons with the contemporary sounds radiating from Berlin. Above the bass, minimal programming and industrial synth insertions combine with a constant and ominous background drone. The breakdown reduces the main elements, and then systematically builds them back up with more prominence whilst all the time the shuffling bass structure keeps rolling on like a machine controlling itself. 'Ice Breaker' is, overall, a solid effort that demonstrates the flexibility of a producer who appears to be actively reacting to the current sounds dominating the underground airwaves. It may not match the minimal offerings from the likes of Luciano or Nathan Fake, but nevertheless it is still an interesting journey into the outer world of Marco Bailey's productions.

'From His Other Side' closes the EP in fine style. Clever programming allows wonky strings to work alongside heavy percussion and a break beat sequence. The beats have a strong vintage feel and the overall pace and sound quality are evocative of the early drum n bass releases on labels such as the legendary Reinforced Records. Marco Bailey then mixes in an overwhelming bass line that dominates the groove before temporarily subsiding. Bright touches of electronic effects are added to accompany the strings. Secondary bass patterns are used, which fade in and out at regular intervals. The main breakdown contains more past influences as a rave era sax solo is combined with heavenly strings and snare drum builds. At times 'From His Other Side' is in danger of containing too many parts competing for the limited space. However, the producer just manages to succeed in using them all together without the track sounding too cluttered.

The finale of the 'Mental Switch EP' is a totally refreshing sound that is unexpected. It may not appeal to some of Marco's normal fans but it could well win him many more from further a field.

Marco Bailey - Mental Switch EP
VERDICT
3.5

LABEL

MB Selektions

CATALOG NO

MBSELEK 07

RELEASE DATE

October 10 2005

PUBLISHED

November 11, 2005 at 2:50 PM CET

WORDS

Paul Pritchard

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