Notes on the Holy (Mix) Grail IV

It was three down and two to go. Everything was looking rather good, so then what happened?

With so many DJ compilations already listed, we hit a brick wall. But surely there’s enough to complete five simple features with? After all, this thing of ours has been around for a few decades now. Well, of course there’s enough. Perhaps too many to remember properly.

So, after re-grouping, hitting the tiles more than a few times and having a good, long look through eons of CDs, it’s time to bravely go where few souls tread. Hopefully, the results won’t be an Indiana Jones style face melting sequence, but then we’re all good people, meaning the reflected ‘glory’ of the Grail shouldn’t transform into a devastating force vanquishing all life on its path of destruction. Still, that thought should be left to the off chance we actually make a decision on the best mix ever sold in a shop. As if to sidestep this responsibility altogether, we present another crate-load of choice selections from the world of selectors. Enjoy, then argue with us…

Together as Tyrant, this is Lee Burridge and Craig Richards’ second inclusion in this series, and rightly so. No Shoes, No Cake forsakes the breakbeat grounding of their earlier mix for vacuum packed tech and druggy shufflers, while dub influences make themselves more than apparent. Tracks like Sound As A Pound hit the money when it comes to end of the night stormers, while the melancholy of Love Variations is about as beautiful as house gets.

With Body Music, their compilation for NRK’s Nite:Life series, Chicken Lips pretty much defined their sound. It’s plodding, disco tinged electronica, and it’s not afraid to bite. Slope’s Basscheck shows their love for seriously broken beats (or what some call ‘glitch’ nowadays), before Ian Pooley’s very Ian Pooley reworking of Crazy Penis drops in, whistles, vocal stabs and all. In short, you can’t go far wrong if you’re looking for something to get you in the mood.

As if a back2back inclusion wasn’t enough, we also thought Lee Burridge’s Metropolis was worth a mention. In contrast to his Tyrant work, and the other solo release we included earlier in our Notes, this decade old set is as proggy as it gets. Dark, sinister vocals and trancey synths abound, the mixes into and out of D.R.U.M.Z. by Mad Powda exemplify how to make records feel powerful by approaching with equal parts continuity and intent.

If you’ve ever seen Robert Hood in a club, you’ll know there’s not much bullshit involved. Mechanical techno, constructed with analogue boxes and actual records. It’s what minimalism should sound like. Still, it’s not really the ideal choice for a mix album. Thankfully, our lack of imagination didn’t stop the Detroit originator and Fabric, who got together to produce this storming 32 tracker. As live sounding, raw and soulful as anything you’ll ever hear.

And the mother fucking saga continues” went the sample Deep Dish repeatedly called upon during one mammoth five hour set at Creamfields. And a saga it certainly was. While their Toronto mix for Global Underground offers little of the intensity that Bank Holiday set did, it showcases why the pair were pretty damn good at the time. Namecheck melodic classics like Sasha & Junkie XL’s Breezer, alongside high rollers such as Lowriders’ Part 1, and say no more.

Fabric pretty much re-wrote the rules when it came to superclub compilations, in the same way it did with superclubs themselves. No more cathedral like main rooms, and a focus on musical integrity, rather than spectacle. There have been great CDs, in fact quite a few, and several misses too. With the seventh release West Coast mainmen Hipp-e & Halo flew in to do their thang. The opening ‘dedication to house music’ speech should tell you what happened next.

The amount of attention on drum n bass has, sadly, waned again following a millenial resurgence. As such, the name LTJ Bukem isn’t going to be on many people’s lips right now. But the first Earth compilation proves how criminally neglegent this is. A ten strong playlist, now in its 12th year, as it moves into adolescence it’s still refreshing to hear. Though never known for jump-up tunes, this is arguably the man at his subtle, liquid best.

Kraftwerk were around when old school DJs were knee high to a grasshopper. That tracks from their earliest albums still get dropped across the world to this day is testament to the awesome production and forward thinking flavours they conjured. As the 90s dawned, they had a bash at creating something rooted in contemporary club culture with this mix of original and remixed work. The result is a little like a strange greatest hits album, and highly recommended.