James Zabiela - Utilities

After listening again the other days Sound in Motion and Alive, the third mix cd of the Britain DJ James Zabiela seemed more sophisticated and warmer. Released on Renaissance, the mix album "Utilities" embraces a pretty different style than the previous mixes and curdles in two CDs some very fine electro, techno, acid and break beats.

The change intervenes when the debut EP is released as well on Renaissance containing three original tracks produced by Zabiela. The mixes are made one with Ableton live and one with the decks, the vocal samples are there as well as the typical Zabiela scratches, but it's all diminished and filtered through a new style so that the tracks are flowing one by one in order to create two fresh and alive mixes. The theme of this compilation seems to be the utilization of all the differences which make djs to impose each one through something unique – in James' case it is a "robophobia" which floats through the mixture of electronic flavours.

The first cd ventures into an electro, acid house and break beat sphere but if we have in a mind a hierarchy of all the dominant elements, on the top would be the tracks selection and the the mixing technique. And so, after a very fine intro called "Quantum Realities", Decomposed Subsonics and the track "Atlantic View" ensconces the listener in a dynamic atmosphere and colors the mix through a driving rhythm and a sweet melodic line. In the same style, The Consumer and the track "Your Soul For Access" warms up the atmosphere and maintains the dynamism of the previous track, for coming then with an underground tune from Little Mike & Wyatt Earp and the track "Android". All this time, the vocal samples are accompanying us actuating the mix and giving it an abstract tone in order to contribute to the "robophobic" theme of the entire compilation. With a powerful impact upon the crowd, Kriece's remix of the track "Windowlicker" of Aphex Twin brings back the beats of a massive bomb that drove us crazy a few years back. Solid Groove and the track "This Is Sick" consists in an energetic and abstract electro with many melodic breakdowns and an acute rhythm which imposingly lay on the mix and dominates the track for a few good minutes. I was speaking earlier that this compilation was made alongside an EP and the track which follows, "Eyeamcomputer" is a solid proof that James launched out in the music production area and the result is a massive break beat with some prominent flavours of electro. Zabiela discovered the two guys from Soundex to one of his gigs when they gave him a demo cd which lately he featured on this compilation; it is about the track "On/Off". With the break beat and electro starting to pick up the compilation, the two versions from "Outta My Mind" by Lee Combs are driving the mix to a fantastic kicking euphoria. After the energetic remix of Infusion to one of Will Saul's tracks, the track "Robophobia" from James himself brings some fascinating electro grooves, indeed dynamic and soft; no doubt this track is an essential point of the compilation, a basement over which is built up the entire madness. Through Abysm and the track "Future Love", the mix gets a romantic sound since a tender melodic line strokes from time to time a mad and acid rhythm, composing therefore a complex tune. The things continue to be gentle with Silvertone and the track "Theme From Silvertone", and Hugg & Pepp brings back the electro fusion with some melodic trance influences – an excellent track for closing up this first cd, after the discrete appearance of an outro made up by Dennis Rodgers & Hisham Samawi.

If you felt you didn't stick to Zabiela's ribs, no problem, because he reserves one more cd, gathering 12 tracks various as style and as the intensity through which provokes the listeners to different sensations and experiences. After the excellent track "Through You" from the two Dennis Rodgers & Hisham Samawi, we stretch our legs with Martin C and "The Escape" which makes a discrete fading between a warm techy progressive and a massive and energetic electro. The things continue in the same electronic line with the great producer Trentemoller and his "Rikketid". Walter G Ercolino adds too a massive and kicking electro tune and the fifth track featured on this cd is produced by Montero; "Captain Hook" provides another fascinating reprise of electro engirding the atmosphere. Rob Mooney and the track "Feelin' Electro" introduces a blasting bass line with a tent of uplifting and a dement rhythm, while Buick Project and "At the Rave" intervenes with an electro combined with acid house which goes to a fantastic track for bouncing. Gerome Sportelli takes the mix at the paroxysm of the madness with "Growth", a great alignment of acid synths and electro pads superposed on a powerful and tough rhythm. Featured on this cd as well, Hugg & Pepp calm down the atmosphere through an electro very well combined with a calm and melodic tech-house for introducing Elite Force and his remix for PMT and the track "Gyromancer", a violent and energetic break beat track on which background float from time to time some unique scratches from James. The Carbon Community brings the excellent track "Simon Says", a fine break beat with some electro fusion and an extraordinary melodic line composing through a charming female vocal. What closes up this second cd and the entire compilation also is a fascinating edit from Zabiela to the track "Sehnsucht" produced by Ellen Alien. With this great break beat James succeeds to end up his third compilation and the second one released on Renaissance.

You remember off course the fantastic "Sound in Motion" back in 2003, compilation which already was pointing James out of anonymity and was making him a dj who promises a lot – and this is what happened, reaching today where he is, the robophob phenomena Zabiela. It is amazing how a simple name can be pronounced with so much admiration and liveliness by thousands of spectators but also many other thousands of listeners, how a simple name can exhilarate so much a crowd and can inflame it.

James Zabiela - Utilities






June 20 2005


August 7, 2005 at 2:47 PM CEST


Dragos Rusu

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