Ewan Pearson - Sci Fi Hi Fi Vol 1

Despite an incomparable back catalogue of productions and remixes Ewan Pearson has never previously released a commercial mix CD. Citing a lack of confidence as a major reason for this, the Berlin based electronic producer has been more comfortable behind the studio mixing desk and monitors rather than behind a DJ mixer.

And in his preferred environment he is untouchable. Outstanding remixes of the Chemical Brothers, Alter Ego and Depeche Mode, plus the recent rework of Sliver City's 'Shiver' on 20:20 Vision have made sure that Ewan is one of the most in demand producer around, and not just within dance music circles. However, since he took to the decks over 4 years ago he has also established a pretty good reputation as a DJ, a reputation that has seen him become in high demand at top clubs such as Fabric, Basics and the Rex in Paris. It makes perfect sense that he debuts on Soma, a label that has supported and promoted Ewan's past productions with complete faith. With Sci Fi Hi Fi Soma have created a platform from which its featured artists have the freedom to showcase their individual styles without any label limitations. With Pearson's fusion of various styles within his productions, it would appear that this 'play what you like approach' is the perfect setting for his first mix excursion.

Ewan Pearson's Sci Fi Hi Fi rolls smoothly into action with the deep and animating groove of Joakim's remix of Clashing Ego's 'Aminjig Nebere' before the superb electronic house track 'Lovebass' by Lontano glides expertly into the mix. The well judged ambience of the introduction is quickly dissolved thanks to the early placement of Feist's 'Inside and Out' on Polydor. Ewan Pearson recently remarked that it was his intention to re-present his and Al Usher's Elektronischer Dub version as it was missed by most people when it is was first released in 2004. Pearson was right to persevere with the track. Their dub is quite simply exquisite. The sweet vocal applied alongside clever funk based electro house rhythms is an early highlight that is never really surpassed throughout the rest of the 15-track mix. It is also quite refreshing to see a track originally written by the brothers Gibb (of the Bee Gees fame) working so well in the electronic world. The up-tempo feel is then reduced as the slow and slick house grooves of Serge Santiago's mix of Husky Rescue's 'Summertime Cowboy' are dropped into the mix programme. The Catskills track is definitely smooth and rich in attitude thanks to the impressive vocal but it is slightly frustrating coming straight after the uplifting nature of the previous track. Any frustration is short lived however, as the excellent minimalism of Dirt Crew's 'Largo' is mixed with Carl Finlow's top notch interpretation of Villalobos's 'Easy Lee'. The trademark Random Factor sound transforms the slightly dull original into a sleazy electro house ride.

The electronic dancefloor is served further thanks to the introduction of Different Gear's 'Pop Idle'. At this point Ewan Pearson illustrates the benefits of using Ableton Live as he sets about mixing Riton's jacking version of 'Don't Stop' by Brazilian Girls impeccably with tracks from Karu and Spirit Catcher on Mood Music. This section of the CD is mixed to perfection but it is, at times, overly repetitive and lacking in character. Both Spirit Catcher and Danton Eeprom's 'Odd Bassliner' will work wonders on modern dancefloors but the heavy synth features probably won't date too well. Luckily the final section of the mix more than makes up for the repetition of the past sequence of records. The inclusion of Alex Visconti's 'I Want To Be Your Everything' is nothing short of sublime, and Da Fresh's old school house interpretation on 'Broken Dream', released on the promising French label Hypnotic is a perfect track to complete the first Sci Fi Hi Fi project.

It may be mixed with Ableton (and therefore obviously beat match perfect) but as a result it also lacks some of the reassuringly human roughness of a manually mixed set. That said, despite its tough and repetitive electro sections Ewan Pearson's first mix CD is still a charming presentation. It is full of character and originality; especially during the opening sequences and as the mix project closes with deep electronic grooves. As a result Pearson has set the standard for the rest of the Sci Fi Hi Fi mix series; a standard that will no doubt be met by the forthcoming mixes from the unarguable talents of Andrew Weatherall and Luciano. With Sci Fi Hi Fi Soma have started a mix CD concept that has the potential to rival the likes of Fabric. And given the track record of this exceptional Glasgow based label it probably won't take long.

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Ewan Pearson - Sci Fi Hi Fi Vol 1
VERDICT
3.5

LABEL

Soma Records

CATALOG NO

SOMA CD44

RELEASE DATE

October 3 2005

PUBLISHED

November 11, 2005 at 2:37 PM CET

WORDS

Paul Pritchard

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