It is not surprising then, that the label has teamed up with the underground stalwarts Slam for their latest presentation. The Slam partnership of Stuart McMillan and Orde Meikle has a pretty rich history in the compilation market also. 'Past Lessons, Future Theories' was a near perfect reflection of house and techno in 2000, 2 years later the DMC release 'Slam The Mix' provided a 2-disc trip through the fresh sounds of their Freelance Science and Pressure nights. And in 2003 Stuart and Orde featured on perhaps the best Fabric CD series released yet, with a 75-minute exploration of deep tech house and powerful techno. It was with great anticipation then that BeatFactor picked up 'Nightdrive' - a nocturnal electronic double CD mix.
CD 1 kicks off with the warped atmosphere of Carl Craig's 'Darkness' before it travels swiftly through the deep minimalism of Luciano, the warm synths of the exclusive 'Genex' and the excellent electronics of Alex Smoke's 'Don't See the Point'. Producers of the moment Dominik Eulberg and Nathan Fake also feature, and Slam's selection here demonstrates their talent for presenting the cream of the minimal sound currently dominating both house and techno today. The insertion of Slam's politically orientated 'This World' acapella works really well with the builds of Nathan Fake's 'Dinamo' and leads perfectly to the swinging grooves of Luci's 'Mullet Is In Da House' on the Canadian label Mutek. By the time 'Done in Two Days' (a superb house cut from the extremely talented techno producers Tomie Nevada and Robert Drewek) is smoothly dropped into the mix 'Nightdrive' will have you totally immersed in the lush and exciting tech sounds of 2 DJ's in top form. Following the impeccable start, Slam grasp the opportunity to takes things a little deeper with Minus artist Marc Houle's haunting version of Slam's 'Kill the Pain' intertwined with extra snippets of the acapella mix that brilliantly connects to the incoming rhythms of Guido Schneider. The pace then increases quickly with the menacing bass of Dub Kult and the kicking and noisy groove of Perc's 'Splashy'; before the marching funk of 'Gear 1' by Marc O Tool is flawlessly mixed with the looped intro of Trentemoller's accomplished mix of 'Coincidance' by Mathias Schaffhauser. Both tracks are real highlights, with the rocker-esque touches of 'Coincidance' displaying the best work from the promising Trentemoller to date. Up to this point it really is hard to pick a fault with the tracks on offer and the smooth manner in which they are blended together. Therefore it is a slight disappointment that the duo decide to close CD1 with James Holden's interpretation of the overwhelming growl of Black Strobe's 'Nazi Trance Fuck Off!'. Holden's mix is truly original and unlike most other records on the current market (save for perhaps Booka Shade's 'Mandarine Girl'), but even his unarguable talent fails to inject any real rhythm to a track that sits uncomfortably with the electronic groove that characterises the rest of the mix.
If you look back at 'Past Lessons, Future Theories' and 'Slam The Mix' it is clear that Slam like to save the second CD for a progressive journey through future techno. On 'Past Lessons...' we were treated to the unstoppable tribal energy of Valentino Kanzyani and the Chicago influenced tech house of Trevor Rockcliffe. 'Slam The Mix' showcased the retro-styled techno of Oxia and the genre crossing rhythms of Phil Kieran. And in part this is what happens here on 'Nightdrive'. The mix begins with the intelligent sounds of the man of the moment Mathew Jonson before the heavy synths of Model 500 and ADJD's 'Audio Mechanic' give way to the trademark thump of a Slam DJ set, this time provided by John Dahlback in his head down guise on 'Outside' with studio partner Staffan Linzatti. Up next is Martin Wheeler, aka Vector Lovers, who turns out an outstanding remix of the best dancefloor track from Slam's Year Zero album. Wheeler's revision of 'Human' maintains all the character of the original and fuses it with a glitchy interpretation of Saunderson's Reese bassline and the melodic sensibilities that are so common in his work. Unfortunately the mix temporarily loses it way after this point and lacks the high standard of set programming we have come to expect from both DJ's. The inclusion of Hiroki Esashika's 'Kazane' on Intec is not only a let down for the overall quality of the CD, but also for Intec as a label which has seemingly seen its quality control filter pack up and head out of town (temporarily we hope). Slam do make up for this brief lapse with excellent offerings from Vector Lovers again, this time with 'Suicide Android', and the minimal influenced groove of Funk D Void and Phil Kieran's 'Black Worm'; but as CD2 finishes it is clear that it lacks the same high quality set sequencing and patience that was evident on CD1. That said, although at times it sounds rushed, it also features a handful of producers that will more than likely go on to influence and shape techno music in the near future.
Nightdrive may be slightly flawed due to a lack of consistency on CD2, but the outstanding showcase that is disc 1 ensures that it is still an essential indicator for where techno music is right now, and where it will most likely be in the future.
CD1 - 10/10
CD2 - 7/10
Overall - 8.5/10
- Various Artists - Great Summergames Stuff
- John Digweed - Transitions vol 3
- GU Mixed
- Yositoshi Miami - mixed by Cedric Cervais
- Fabric 35 - Mixed by Ewan Pearson
- Niki B & Christian E.F.F.E. - The Question / Fatman
- Christian Smith & John Selway - Transit Time
- Matthew Herbert - Score
- Lazy Fat People - Pixelgirl EP
- Steve Porter - Porterhouse 2
- Chris Fortier - Remixes EP 1
- Phonique - Good Idea
- One + One mixed by James Zabiela and Nic Fanciulli
- Global Underground presents Afterhours 3
- DJ T - Lucky Bastard
October 10 2005
October 31, 2005 at 11:39 AM CET