Sach O’s influences are peerless.
Convincing anyone to actually purchase a legit mix CD is in 2011 is no easy task. I don’t care if you’ve got DJ Muhammad-Imad-Bruce-Lee mixing nothing but unreleased Burial and Jeff Mangum dubs (he’s killing it on the white labels!), getting people to part with their guap when Fact Magazine, Sonic Router, Resident Advisor and a dozen more reputable outlets are giving out hours of expertly blended music for free is harder than a Waka Flocka Flame x Children of Bodom collabo. Still, Fabric soldiers on with not one but two different mix series, documenting the rarified heights of art minded House and techno with their signature series while exploring the constantly shifting sounds of breakier, mutant dance music with Fabriclive. The later series has been particularly worthy of attention recently with volumes #56 and #57 blended by Ramadanman/Pearson Sound and Jackmaster respectively: two top ranking selectors who deliver two very different mixes.
Pearson’s blend attempts to take you on a proverbial journey, expertly combining tracks until you forget where one begins and the other ends. More restrained than the live set he performed here in April, his mix instead serves as the perfect entry point for curious novices intrigued by the hype surrounding his production but deterred by his lack of album-length releases. Drawing his own beats, tracks from his Hessle fam and material from sympathetic House-via-Bass rebels Joy O and Julio Bashmore, the first half of the mix moves at cruising speed with its impeccable interlocking percussion never demanding a sweat.
Things get murkier on the back half when Dubstep classics by Burial, Mala and Pinch collide with grimier moments by Wiley, Girl Unit and S-X but ultimately, things never quite boil over: this is one for the train or the gym rather than the party. On one hand, it would have been nice to hear Pearson let loose: he drops Chris Brown and Dizzee Rascal live so why hold back here? On the other hand, this is about as concise a representation of the Hessle sound as you’ll get in 2011: a great front-to-back listen that’s brave enough to show sonic restraint while still remaining rhythmically intriguing. It’s this combination of politeness and avant-guard funk that best symbolizes Pearson as a producer so in one sense, this is the perfect document for where he’s at this year. Catch him live though – you won’t regret it.
Jackmaster on the other hand, goes for a full-on balls-to-the-wall party mix: no more, no less. The Numbers label-head doesn’t produce, instead he earns his spot here thanks to an extremely eclectic selection that connects the dots between classic 80s and 90s dance music and more modern styles without ever seeming forced. From Detroit classics by Inner City and Model 500 to the newest UK sounds by Addison Groove and SBTRKT to multiple tracks by Atlanta bootyshake legends the Splack Pack (!!!) – if it’s weird, funky and a little dirty, Jackmaster throws it in and mixes it in the pot like gumbo. Forget any notions of genre propriety: this release is all about choice ingredients from across the spectrum, re-imagined into a thrilling, unpretentious but always-potent whole. Amazingly, it not only works, it works on two diametrically opposed levels: my inner (and outer) music nerd wants to own every single track here but it’ll also go down as a house party staple – the CD you bust out when you need to get girls dancing. Like a Glaswegian answer to London’s DJ Oneman, Jackmaster is living proof that there’s still room in the world for the DJ’s DJ and hopefully, this mix alongside a new Rinse FM spot will expose the master selector and cratedigger to a well deserved wider audience. In any case, I’ve now got an extra reason to consider moving to Glasgow aside from fried pizza.
MP3: Model 500-”Night Drive (Thru-Babylon)” (128 K/BPS)